Universal Pictures (100 mins)
PG-13 (Violence, some language, some sexual innuendo)
Ice Cube takes Kevin Hart under his wing to see if he’s ready for the big time.
By James Peterson
2013 was a big year for the “little man” Kevin Hart. “Grudge Match” and “This Is The End” gave us small doses (pardon the pun) of Kevin to spice up otherwise formulaic films. In contrast, “Ride Along” eases Kevin into the spotlight where he really shines. Perennial underachiever Ben (Kevin Hart) lives in Atlanta with his stellar-hot girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter). Wanting to be more than a high-school security guard, he applies to the police academy and is thrilled to learn that he has been accepted. However, Angela’s big brother, Detective James Payton (Ice Cube), is less than impressed with little Ben. Ben tells James that he’s going to the police academy, but James sets out to prove that Ben isn’t cut out to be a cop, and offers to take him on a “Ride Along”.
Tim Story directs writer Greg Coolidge’s action comedy, and having worked with Ice Cube (“Barbershop”) and Kevin Hart (“Think Like A Man”) before, he really brings out the best in these characters. Ben is annoying but bold, like a Jack Russell terrier bouncing around James’ Rottweiler mentality. And like the movie’s title, Kevin Hart gets the opportunity to learn from someone who’s been there.
Ice Cube’s lengthy music and acting career started with C.I.A., then N.W.A., and now he’s A.P.D. He’s written albums, screenplays, and even produced films; his company, CubeVision, is prominently listed in the opening credits. He has run the gamut in this biz, and shows no signs of slowing down. If Kevin Hart can learn to replicate Ice Cube’s success, which is no small feat, he’ll be the one that comes out standing tall.