You know, there aren’t many active
comedy teams in the movies any more, though we could all probably name several
from times past. That’s why “Ride
Along,” which no one would mistake for an Oscar nominee, is still an
enjoyable little mindless cop-o-dramedy.
James Payton (Ice Cube) is the
police detective with the tough-guy attitude who has a tendency to be a Lone
Ranger out on the streets. There’s
one particular hoodlum he’s trying to hunt down, Omar (Laurence Fishburne),
whom he suspects of being a gang kingpin connected to lots of other petty
crime in the area. Payton has directed
and coordinated the efforts of his two associates in running down all leads,
but so far, no luck. And Payton’s
boss is beginning to tire of all the departmental time and energy wasted on
this unproductive wild goose chase. But
Payton seems determined to “score” on this criminal.
Meanwhile, he’s trying to discourage
diminutive Ben (Kevin Hart), whom he thinks is trying to “score” with his
sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). Ben is a
security-guard-wanna-be cop who’s just been accepted into the
, but James, trying to give Ben a hard time, invites him on a “ride along”
where he asks the dispatcher to give him all the annoying calls, some of which
are setups designed to make any rookie look bad.
The ruse almost works. Ben does
indeed get discouraged, but, not completely clueless, he catches wind of the
subterfuge, and plays along enough to bluster his way through the next
scenario, which is the real thing, except he doesn’t realize it.
OK, that sounds more serious than this
really is. But at least there’s a
semblance of a plot to wrap around all the humor and satire.
Though there’s a little bit of racy dialogue (and one obligatory
“f-bomb”), older children would probably enjoy the frantic antics of Kevin
Hart, whose all-out style contrasts well with Ice Cube’s, well, coolness.
Are they an unlikely duo?
Of course, that’s why they’re appealing as a mismatched pair.
For those who are looking to go to the movies for some lighthearted
fare, with the occasional smattering of action sequence just for variety, this
“popcorn movie” is worth considering.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,