Universal Pictures' "Ride Along" was hilarious, unpredictable and altogether expected.
There has been an outbreak in buddy films in the past few years, with flicks such as "The Heat" and "21 Jump Street," and "Ride Along" is a continuation of the success of the genre.
Kevin Hart stars as Ben, an avid video gamer striving to become a police officer and earn respect, while Ice Cube plays the jaded, tough-guy cop named James who is bent on aspiring to move up in the ranks.
Unlike the typical buddy flick, Ben and James have a rocky relationship from the start, as Ben proposes to James' sister and thus has to prove himself to James.
James, however, is faced with the task of deciding whether his potential brother-in-law is worthy of his sister.
At the same time, James also deals with attempting to seek out and arrest a powerful criminal. As you can imagine, both men end up in a whirlwind of shoot-outs, drive-bys and intimidation tactics. The movie harps on both of the main characters' journeys to gain respect through a series of stumbles and obstacles.
Although the movie starts slow, it quickly picks up pace once Ben and James begin their "ride along" through crime. Don't expect much character growth from anyone in this film, although it does provide an easy plot to follow along.
"Ride Along" especially lacks any sort of female character with a dynamic personality, with only one female character in the movie. Shootouts and high-speed car chases keep this film moving as a typical action flick does.
Hart's humor is what saves the movie from being a standard, thoughtless action film with his signature gags on his own height and unintimidating demeanor.
While most of the funny moments in the movie are revealed in the trailer, they are fully played out in the movie and can bring you to tears from laughing. All in all, "Ride Along" achieves its ultimate goal of keeping the audience engaged, whether through chuckling at Hart's comic genius or getting caught up in the "tough" crime world of Atlanta.
"Ride Along" has stayed strong in the box office, bringing in an additional $21.2 million this weekend after breaking the January record for highest box office gross with a steady $48.6 million over the MLK weekend. While there may be no substance or clear moral to this movie, one thing's for sure — Kevin Hart always brings the laughs.
Genre: Action Comedy
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo
Who cares: The target audience for this movie is males, ages 20-40. If you're a fan of comedic good-cop, bad-cop films, then this movie is right up your alley. Also, if you were in tears during Hart's standup comedy "Let Me Explain" and "Seriously Funny," then you know to expect Hart to deliver a stellar comic performance.
Is it worth it: If you're looking to watch a movie that will move you to tears and reevaluate your entire life, this film isn't it. If you're looking for an easy movie to laugh along to with friends and take a brain nap, then this flick would be perfect. If you're not itching to get out of the house and cough up $10, then don't worry — it's not Oscar-worthy material. You can Redbox it later.
You might like this movie if you like: "The Heat," "Bad Boyz," "Identity Thief," "21 Jump Street" and "The Other Guys."