Gotta split this into two parts to accommodate our double feature this week. First up, Ride Along.
What?! Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is dead set on two things: becoming a cop and marrying his girlfriend Angela. Both depend on him getting along with Angela’s tough-as-nail cop brother, James (Ice Cube). When James offers to take him on a ride along, Ben knows that he’s in for the ride of his life. Ride Along!
Why?! The entire why of this film can be summed up in a single sentence: Ben wants to marry Angela and James doesn’t want Ben to marry Angela. Done. That’s it.
How?! Confused? Not sure how a ride along with Angela’s brother is connected to either of those goals? It’s like a constellation in the night sky. Stars connected to make a shape that only vaguely resembles a swan (or in this case, a plot of a film). Here it goes: Ben says he can’t marry Angela until he is a cop. Angela says he can’t marry her until he gets along with James. James says he can’t marry her until he proves he’s a man. For Ben all three of these goals can be accomplished via the ride along. For James all three of these goals can be mercilessly crushed via the ride along. Fortunately for Ben they get directly involved in a major police operation whereby he is able to save the day and wins Angela’s hand in marriage. If that didn’t happen James probably succeeds and crushes all of Ben’s dreams. It’s kind of the theme of the series. Ben sucks at everything… but comes out on top at the most opportune moments.
Who?! Give a little shout-out to Lil’ P-Nut, a child actor/rapper who appears in the film. When you got a music video like this and you’re 7-years-old you know you’re crushing it.
Where?! HOTlanta alert! Second film in a row set there. However, unlike the lily white Atlanta portrayed in Mother’s Day, we get a much more diverse cast representing the city in this case. This is pretty much as clear as you can get with a location without it being necessary to the plot. Obviously could have been LA or Chicago or Boston or New Orleans. C+
When?! Exact day alert! Near the beginning of Ride Along Ben gets a letter from the Atlanta PD informing him that he made the academy. That letter is dated October 16th. Word up. The satisfaction I get from an exact date is somewhat sad… it’s just so exciting. That’s a B.
‘Ello everyone! Ride Along, more like Misguided Slog (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-half rhymes, ya heard?). We’ll make this quick, we got two to do, woo!
- The Good – I honestly find Ice Cube, this director, and Kevin Hart (to an extent) very entertaining. I think the way the go about making light of and parodying cop dramas is somewhat unique in the present landscape, in that it isn’t an over the top parody, but instead a ridiculous (but relatable) person being put in extreme situations and acting accordingly. The soundtrack is excellent.
- The Bad – As one would expect it is a bit too much Kevin Hart. The way they portray women in general is basically just to have them as eye candy (you could make an argument that Tika Smpter has equal footing to her fiance and brother, but in reality that comes across as very token, we’ll get more into that in the second recap). The movie is long and too unstructured, it is classic string-of-vignettes screenplay common in a punched up comedy.
- The BMT – No, not this one I don’t think. I was pretty entertained to be honest. I like what Tim Story and Kevin Hart are trying to do here and I totally get why Story is the most profitable black director in history.
I’m going to do a Sequel/Prequel/Remake here because I have something else for the second one, so let’s complete the trilogy (apparently coming out in 2018 by the way). So they started in Atlanta, they went to Florida, it is time to go to California I think. Story already said he wanted to get Ice Cube’s childhood home in the film, so make the story focus on finding the killer of Ice Cube and Tika Sumpter’s father in LA. With Hart and Olivia Munn tagging along (not to mention Ken Jeong, we got a regular Lethal Weapon level exploding cast up in here!) they discover a little bit about the family. My twist? Their father is still alive and a crime kingpin in LA. Amid questioning who he is Ice Cube discovers there’s more to being family than blood. Throw in a half-brother police officer trying to take Papa Cube down and we got a red hot Kevin Hart Brother-In-Law meltdown. Book my trip to the Oscars boys, I got best adapted screenplay on lockdown.