‘Ride Along’ leads to dead end

Last month, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart joined late show host Conan O’Brien on a remote that took them around Los Angeles in Lyft, a popular West coast car service easily recognizable from the pink moustaches its employees must have on the front of their cars. 

It was one of the most enjoyable and humorous moments from “Conan” in quite some time, but unfortunately Hart and Ice Cube did not carry over any of that humor into their newest film, “Ride Along,” a buddy cop film made in an assembly line of broken parts from Hollywood’s most inept mechanics.  

Hart plays Ben Barber, a fast-talking, motor-mouthed security guard who just got accepted to the police academy and is out to prove to his girlfriend’s brother, James Payton (Ice Cube), that he has the mettle to make it as a cop, provider and protector for James’ little sister (Tika Sumpter).  

James has qualms about his brother-in-law to be and decides to take him for a joy ride to witness the quotidian obligations of a detective in Atlanta. 

Basically, the film takes the plot of “Training Day” and tries to inject moments for Hart to riff for the audience. The narrative progression feels thrown together and lacks a cohesive feel. It is never a good sign when you see four names given credit to a screenplay. 

The film’s writers seem to feel that a comedy works best when a plethora of clichés run in and out of the parameters of the screen. When Hart and Cube are at a gun range, for example, they are surrounded by gun-toting Southerners. The entrance is adorned with the Confederate flag and
taxidermy deer heads. It is a scene that exemplifies the movie’s obsession with guns and gratuitous violence. 

Are all Southerners obsessed with guns? Probably not, but what could be potentially one of the few bright spots of the film, unfortunately transforms into a promo video from the NRA toward recruiting minorities for membership. 

Like buddy cop films of old, such as “48 Hours” and “Lethal Weapon,” where jaded cops  were trudging along the Reagan-era, hopped up on unfilled promises, “Ride Along” has its cops in an era where violence lurks around every corner and even movie theaters are not safe from shootings.

Fans of the two stars might find the film to be enjoyable for brief moments, but like the now almost-extinct Hummer SUV, “Ride Along” is full of power and brash on the outside, courtesy of the Hollywood studio system, but is ultimately harmful and uninspiring, leaving the desire to fill up on enlightenment and smarter jokes.

Grade: D