RIDE ALONG 2: 3 STARS FOR KEVIN HART FANS/2 STARS FOR EVERYBODY ELSE
Your enjoyment of “Ride Along 2” will be directly linked to your enjoyment of Kevin Hart. The follow up to the wildly successful 2014 buddy cop comedy once again pairs Hart and Ice Cube but it is the comedian who dominates.
Ben Barber (Hart) is a beat cop one month out of the academy. He seems to have learned more about being a cop from playing video games than from the Academy, but nonetheless, he is determined to shadow his soon-to-be-brother-in-law James Payton (Ice Cube) when the Atlanta vice cop travels to Miami to track down a hacker (Ken Jeong). Ben thinks the Miami run will prove to everyone he should be a detective and while James doesn’t want the young cop tagging along, he agrees in the hope that the trip will prove Ben isn’t ready to move up the chain. In Miami they team up with a homicide cop (Olivia Munn) as the case takes a new and dangerous turn.
At the “Ride Along 2” screening I was at I sat across the aisle from a man who must be the world’s biggest Kevin Hart fan. He giggled and guffawed throughout. I’m glad he enjoyed the movie and hope Hart continues to delight him for years to come. Me, I didn’t find his antics quite as funny. He’s a whirling dervish, a nonstop bundle of energy who will do anything to get a laugh. He’s like a Jack Russell puppy that is always happy to see you and jumps in your lap all the time. At first its cute but as time goes by it gets annoying.
I admire his commitment but think he’s caught a bad case of Will Ferrellitus, a disease that affects famous comedians who have no self-control in the urge to get a giggle. The only cure is a director who understands that often less is more. Tim Story is not that director.
Ice Cube, on the other hand, is used well, displaying his trademark scowl with menace and humour. It’s a shame that Maya, film’s primary female character played by Olivia Munn, isn’t given more to do. Her presence here adds marquee value but little else.
“Ride Along 2” is a simple movie that relies on the A.B.C.’s of buddy cop movies: A.) Action. B.) Broad comedy. C.) Cleavage. All three are on display, although the action is by-the-book except for one sequence that blends video game action with real life. If more of the movie had this same kind of inventive spirit it might have been more fun.