Did you know that I have a fear of the police? Now I’m not some gangsta or a former felon, but seeing a police car behind me while I’m driving gives me a chill down my spine. I simply have the feeling that I’ll get pulled over to the side for no reason where an officer will harass me, give me a ticket just for being me, or even frame me for something I didn’t do. It may seem weird, given that a more proper phobia may be clowns, spiders, or snakes, but I’ve always found policemen to be very intimidating people to come across (even more so then the military).
I think that the extent of this may come from childhood. I had memories of going to a restaurant where I saw a group of policemen arresting a teenager with brute force. I latter heard from my parents that they guy was falsely arrested as a part of a stupid prank. If that didn’t hurt my spirit, I also had an incident where some teenager threw a slushy at my car while I was seeing a movie. When I tried to complain to the shopping mall’s police (not security), they told me to “go and wash the damn thing, and stop wasting their time”. Watching cops on cinema doesn’t freak me out though, and after sitting through something like Ride Along, maybe the police aren’t as scary as I thought.
We’ve got another buddy cop comedy. This time it’s a paring of a cop, and a wannabe cop. A fast talking security guard Ben Barber (played by Kevin Hart) is tired of dealing with high school kids as only job. Whenever he’s not playing a video game, he’ll be hanging around his girlfriend Angela. He loves her and wants to marry her, but first, he needs the approval of her brother.
That would be a really tough cop/detective James Payton (played by Ice Cube). His sister is his only family, and he would rather not let her end up in the hands of what he calls “a little man-Smurf”. Of course he’s not thrilled when Ben reveals that he’s been accepted into a police academy. James knows that the only way to get rid of him is to scare him enough into believing that a cop life is not for everyone. So Ben’s revealed that he’ll be going on a ride along for the day to see if the little guy up for police work and a police’s sister.
You know what I hate? When a comedy fails. Ride Along has a very funny premise and could have been just as enjoyable as last year’s The Heat. But the issue here is that the only one who knows he’s in a comedy is Kevin Hart. I know the guy can be very funny and I can tell he’s trying his hardest at working with such an uninspired script. Why couldn’t he have had an input on jokes or maybe even the entire screenplay?
Hart needed another funny guy to work off of and Ice Cube is not him. Ice Cube can also be a talented guy, but he’s plays up the part so straight up serious that I think that he’s auditioning for another season of HBO’s The Wire. In fact, the whole movie is under the notion that it’s supposed to not be funny. Most of the material is going after a gang and such. Ride Along needed a better comedian for Kevin Hart to work with. I could see Eddie Murphy or Don Cheadle making this funny, but Ice Cube really makes the movie seem as cold as ice.
I’ll give this two security patches out of five. Ride Along is a boring exercise in buddy cop tropes and bad Kevin Hart jokes.