Making a good buddy cop is really hard thing to accomplish. Making a bad buddy cop film is a really easy thing to accomplish. I’m not going to sugar coat this at all my fellow readers, this film in lies all of the problems and clichés of the genre. This is a boring, almost humorless, clichéd, poorly written, and utterly dull buddy cop film that deserves worse than the five dollar bin at Walmart.
“Ride Along” (2014) follows this fast talking Atlanta school security guard that goes on a police ride along to impress the brother of his girlfriend so he can get his permission to marry her. Meanwhile the brother is investigating a criminal master mind named Omar.
Many comedies don’t have discipline writing like “Caddyshack” (1982) and a more recent example is Seth McFarlane’s directorial debut “Ted” (2012). Both comedies are loosely scripted and thinly plotted yet both turned out to be great comedies. “Ride Along” (2014) is even more thinly written. Basically the Omar plot that Ice Cube’s character is just something written in to tie things together otherwise this would essentially be a large and expensive Saturday Night Live skit. Kevin Hart’s character goes through different scenario and predictably fails at each one. This trend keeps moving towards the end of the film and each moment is as predictable as the last.
What makes this all even worse? It’s not fun in the least bit. I could get past any movie being predictable as long as I am having fun watching it. However this movie is not fun. The movie doesn’t start to get fun until the last 10-15 minutes and even that is not enough to save this film. The execution of director Tim Story, the “mastermind” behind the “Fantastic Four” films, makes this look so generic and boring that it lacks any director’s passion or personal touch.
However I can’t put all the fault in Tim Story’s lack of direction, it’s not like he had any good material to work with. The screenwriters must have sat down and watch a few buddy cop movies before writing this film, deciding to follow the formula plot point for plot. We all know how this works. A out of his league newcomer is paired up with a hard nose tough veteran. The tough veteran resents him throughout the film as he watches him mess up every single time then at the end the rookie does something to impress the veteran that makes him forget all the things that he messed up and accepts the rookie and tells him how good he’ll be at being a cop and valued member to the force. Now if this movie strays away from that formula let me know where. Does every film need to change the formula? No, but in order to be generic and still be good lies in the execution and good dose of fun. Does have either? Not in the slightest.
The acting in the film isn’t half bad though. Kevin Hart brings the most energy to the film giving it all he has. You can tell he is trying hard and may sometimes come off as annoying but even with all his effort it doesn’t help propel the script or the character. Ice Cube’s character could have been played by anyone but I won’t deny he was effective in the role and does have decent chemistry with his co-star. But if they switched him out with a different “tough guy” and nothing in the film would have changed at all. Tika Sumpter does a good job as Kevin Hart’s girlfriend that he wants to marry. Bruce McGill is fine but nothing memorable. John Leguizamo shows up and also give his supporting role his all but once again doesn’t have good material to work with. Which is a shame because I really like John Leguizamo. I’ll give credit where credit is due Laurence Fishburne killed it as Omar. He was a nice pleasant surprise but he doesn’t show up until the very end and doesn’t make enough of an impact to change my views on the picture as a whole.
Judging by how much money this movie made, we will get a sequel. To me this is this year’s “Identity Thief” (2013), generic, clichéd and almost laugh free fest, however this is even worse. At least “Identity Thief” however had a good sense of heart which did help it a little bit, not a ton but did help. This film didn’t even have heart. This is a horrible film and I hope a sequel does not get made.