Don't take the Ride!

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The premise of “Ride Along” is funny.  Wait, is it really funny or funny because the trailers are cut to show all the funny parts of the movie? The answer is the latter. Take away the shenanigans of Kevin Hart’s motor mouth antics and you’re left with an unoriginal wannabe buddy cop movie.

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Kevin Hart is Ben Barber, a loud mouthed, high school security guard with big dreams of being a police officer. His girlfriend Angela Payton (Tika Sumpter) puts up with his hours of playing video games in his spare time because she loves him and believes in him, but her dream is to marry Ben. Ben wants to make her dream come true, but there’s one person who stands in his way. James Payton (Ice Cube) is a hard nosed cop, Angela’s no nonsense brother, and the one person Ben needs to impress to win Angela’s hand. 

After being accepted to the police academy, Ben seeks out James’ approval and blessing to marry his sister. Thinking he can scare him off, James agrees to a one day ride along where Ben can show him what he’s made of and possibly gain his blessing. Let’s stop right there. Only in a movie would a police officer take a civilian on a ride along with the stakes being for his sister’s hand. The premise is unbelievable in real life, and that’s where the plot has issues converting into a feature length film. 

Throughout the day James takes Ben to all the 1-26 situations, a code name for very annoying. Each time, James gives Ben a simple task that he fails at miserably. This is where Kevin Hart’s rat-a-tat comedy comes in to play. You can find a laugh in each situation, but not throughout the entire scene. How many times can you laugh at a height joke? 

As you can imagine, as the day goes on, James is still working on a looming case he’s been going after. Trying to find the mysterious Omar (Laurence Fishburne), a ghost of a crime boss, is the only thing on James’ mind. Ben actually discovers clues that assist James with the case that lead them to the big showdown with Omar, but not a moment after they discover who’s been playing both sides of the law.

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This ride along isn’t worth the gas it takes to get to your destination. The film is predictable in it’s storyline, and unfathomable even in the comedic situations we find Ben and James in. The sad part is that Ben wanted James to get to know him, but by the end of the movie you've never seen a different side of him outside of being a loud mouth. Trying to set Kevin Hart up for comedic scenes akin to Eddie Murphy in “48 Hours”, the writer forgot to do one thing- make it somewhat believable. This movie is perfect for a Redbox or Netflix night...not a night at the theater.

Rating: D+

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.