Film Review: Ride Along 2

Ride Along 2 poster

Ride Along 2 Plot Summary:

After graduating from the Police Academy, loud mouth new cop Ben (Kevin Hart) begs his future brother-in-law (Ice Cube) to take him to Miami to investigate a lead that may help take down an Atlanta drug dealer.  Once again though, James only takes him along to scare Ben out of being a detective.

Ride Along 2 borrows the same exact formula from Ride Along.  Loud mouth man child wants to prove himself.  Hard ass cop drags him along to scare the bejesus out of him.  Man child ends up proving himself.  Non funny physical gag to close out the credits.  The end.  There, you don’t need to see Ride Along 2 now, and please don’t.  My problem isn’t that Ride Along 2 copies and pastes the same formula from the original.  Comedies do that all the time.  My problem with Ride Along 2, just as it is with so many other comedies made in the last ten years, is that it’s simply not funny.  It’s not like I loved the original that much, but at least it was a decent buddy cop concept.  This is dead in the water in the first ten minutes.  I appreciate the film telling me early that they didn’t try.  That was nice of them.  Let’s get this over with (sigh) – here’s why Ride Along 2 doesn’t work:

Ride Along 2 pic 1

Kevin Hart can definitely be funny.  Even in another lazily made comedy last year (The Wedding Ringer), he was good for a few chuckles.  Ride Along 2 is where we reach the breaking point.  This is nauseating.  He’s a JV Chris Tucker.  Every scene is the same.  He talks really fast, is annoying as hell, and none of it is funny.  Sometimes they throw in a tired old physical gag like a ceiling fan, or falling off a water ski boat to “spice things up,” but that’s it.  Literally, once every scene ends, the tape just rewinds itself.  His first scene in particular tells you everything you need to know.  He rolls up to a street fight in a ridiculous over the top car in a feebish attempt to be a bad ass.  Oh.  We haven’t seen that before.

In an attempt to prove I’m not just talking out of my ass, I’m going to illustrate further why this comedy doesn’t work.  Let’s look at a better film of this ilk, Beverly Hills Cop.  Eddie Murphy is funnier because he’s not doing the Eddie Murphy thing in every damn scene.  He’s not constantly doing the iconic laugh.  He doesn’t play the obnoxious card in every scene.  They came sparingly and naturally, which makes those moments that much funnier.  Axel Foley is a real character, and the comedy derives from that.  Kevin Hart is not a character in Ride Along 2.  He’s just screaming like a nut case in every frame.  I get that it’s a movie, but in no place in the universe would anybody give this man a badge.  There’s one point where he shoots somebody, and the guy gets back up.  Kevin Hart begins screaming “HE’S A ZOMBIE!  HE’S A ZOMBIE!”  Come on!  Have some semblance of reality, for crying out loud!  I don’t blame Kevin Hart as much as I do the screenwriters though.  As I’ve said with Melissa McCarthy, give this guy a good script, and he can excel.

ride-along-movie-poster-1

I’ve ranted about Kevin Hart, but I’m actually going to say some nice things about the movie now.  Ice Cube is solid.  His deadpanned attitude works for the film, and he’s trying his best.  And even though they have nothing to work with, there’s definitely somewhat of a chemistry between Hart and Cube.  There’s also not a bad chemistry between Ice Cube and Olivia Munn, who plays a detective they work with.  Ken Jeong was even mildly amusing.  While I enjoy Jeong on the TV circuit, his movie career hasn’t exactly been quality.  Talk about riding an entire career on one funny scene from almost seven years ago (The Hangover).  Geez.

We know what this is – the first movie was surprisingly successful, so the studio sprinted like they were being timed at the combine to crank out an immediate sequel for a quick buck.  It is what it is.  The first half was absolutely dreadful: boring and painfully unfunny.  The second half is moderately better.  I didn’t laugh at all, but at least it was entertaining, and I cared a little bit about the Cube/Hart relationship.  If you’re going to piss out a tired old formula, fine, but at least make it funny.  Maybe it’s better the writers/director don’t try though, because the one time they attempted to do something clever, it was this lame video game parody, and it was pretty damn horrendous.  If you’re out there saying, “Humor is subjective.  Maybe you didn’t find it funny, but someone else might,”  fair enough.  But I always use this as my barometer – nobody else in the theater was laughing either.  Any more questions?

Rating: 4.5 out of 10 (Bad)

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.