Ride Along 2, 2016
Directed by Tim Story
Starring Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt, Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd, and Bruce McGill
As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.
It goes without saying that if you don’t find Kevin Hart’s brand of hyper-drive slapstick comedy funny, you will hate Ride Along 2. Here’s the thing though, I actually find Kevin Hart humorous; he has great comedic timing, on-point line delivery, and an infectious presence that highlights craziness. With that said, Ride Along 2 is essentially worthless and devoid of laughs. Most offensively, it gives Kevin Hart surprisingly very little to do.
The key problem is unabashed laziness. Ride Along released two years ago in January and became an anomaly, raking in dough during a month that typically sees very few critically successful movies released or strong box office revenue. The first film actually broke and held onto some records before an American Sniper named Chris Kyle came along. Essentially, director Tim Story is back for a sequel being pushed into cinemas at the same exact time frame, hoping that the mere title of Ride Along 2 featuring both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reprising their roles is enough to get all those asses back in seats.
The story itself might be one of the most generic and predictable run-of-the-mill buddy cop plots ever. There isn’t even an obvious twist in sight, leaving the narrative everything as advertised. James reluctantly takes his soon to be brother-in-law Ben on a work trip to do some detective work in Miami, both to keep him from sticking his nose into the wedding plans and in hopes that Ben will fail once and for all at proving he has the necessary skills for the job.
Apparently, everything Ben accomplished in the first movie was a fluke because Hollywood executives love money. There are also some new additions to the cast like Olivia Munn playing a hard-nosed and focused detective sharing many similar personality traits to the stern James, while Ken Jeong performs his usual comedy routine as a hacker caught up with the wrong people. They’re all looking for drugs, and the dealer is a surprise to literally no one.
Admittedly, no one is probably seeing Ride Along 2 for the plot, but it’s also light on laughs. All of the jokes either feel phoned in or just simply don’t work. Most notably is a scene where Ben commandeers a vehicle in a high-speed police chase that sees the scene morph into a video game with early PS2 graphics that isn’t even based on anything. The joke is just that Ben obtains all of his knowledge from games. It maybe could have worked if the filmmakers displayed the most basic fundamental understanding of video games, or even dumped some money into it to keep it from being visually grotesque.
There’s also some hilariously bad CGI of an alligator that Ben has to fend off while doing some sleuthing at a happening party in a luxurious mansion. What’s worse, is that even if it were a believably looking alligator, the scene still wouldn’t be funny. Unless, if for some reason, Kevin Hart screaming is enough to make you laugh.
As to be expected, it also suffers heavily from a been there done that feeling, which isn’t helped by the movie occasionally tossing out references to the first one. Even the camaraderie between Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is off, either because even they are disinterested in making this sequel, or due to the horrible script giving them absolutely nothing entertaining to work with in hopes of successfully eliciting laughs. I can count the amount of times Ride Along 2 made me chuckle on one hand.
All of the actors just feel restrained, as if no one bothered to even attempt writing them interesting material. Ice Cube yells at Kevin Hart some, Kevin Hart occasionally does something useful while mostly screwing everything up with his heart in the right place, Olivia Munn is there to look beautiful and give Ice Cube a companion, and Ken Jeong is here to amplify the hijinks of Kevin Hart as a partner in stupidity, but again, nothing works or is even remotely memorable. Thankfully, the movie does breeze by and can’t really be called boring per se, just unfunny and poorly constructed.
Comedy sequels frequently deliver on being terrible, but Ride Along 2 is a case of extreme laziness. It’s nothing more than an attempt at once again making gangbusters during the doldrums of January.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★