I will be the first to admit that I had some preconceived notions heading into Ride Along. I was expecting it to be like many of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube’s recent movies: for lack of a better word, dumb humor. What ended up happening was one of the most pleasant surprises that I’ve had at a movie theater, as I doubled over in laughter on multiple occasions in what was an action packed, all around, hilarious movie going experience.
Ride Along tells the story of Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), a school security guard who has finally been given the chance to chase his dream by being accepted into the police academy. In an effort to get the permission of his girlfriend’s brother, James Payton (Ice Cube), Barber agrees to go on a ride along with Payton, who specifically asks to be given 126′s, or cases involving annoying situations and people. And let the hilarity begin.
This movie worked because it found a great way to let Hart and Cube play off each other, while also showcasing their strengths in individual moments. One scene that stood out was when Hart had to “interrogate” a little kid, leading to quite a funny exchange between Hart and a sassy young kid. While this was going on, Cube was going HAM on Jay Pharaoh, breaking him down in his own, physical way. The back and forth movement between these two scenes had me keeled over in laughter, something I wasn’t expecting coming in.
Not only was this movie surprisingly witty, but there was an unexpected level of action. Throughout the movie, Cube and his partners are trying to track down a unseen criminal Omar (I won’t ruin the reveal). When Cube and Hart aren’t dealing with drunken idiots pouring honey all over themselves, they are in car chases full of explosions and a certain level of action porn.
There are two words that come to mind when I thought about this movie after the fact: surprising and fun, and Kevin Hart epitomized most of this. In one scene, he is doing his best to portray a gangster to bail him and Cube out. In the next, he is using his extensive knowledge of “Call of Duty” games to identify the guns and weapons their enemies are using. Little things like that add a touch of realism to a comedy that puts the two main characters in hilariously unrealistic yet believable situations.
Is this movie an all-time comedy classic? No. But if you are looking for a great time at a movie theater, this movie is for you. I’ve never enjoyed Hart more in a movie, and Cube bounces back after a string of going to college movies, and channels his comedic “Training Day Denzel” in this movie. If this movie does well enough to warrant a sequel, I will certainly be along for the ride (see what I did there!).