Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along 2
I had two films to get through this weekend, 13 Hours and Ride Along 2, and I saved Ride Along 2 for last, thinking it, as a light-hearted comedy, would rinse out whatever taste 13 Hours left in my mouth, but then I saw Ride Along 2 and proceeded to not laugh even once. Not once. Which is unusual, because Kevin Hart can usually make me laugh. Ride Along is pretty stupid, but it’s a dumb kind of fun—I saw it on an airplane, and it went down easy. I thought the second installment would be more of the same, and oh boy, was I wrong. Drama isn’t the opposite of comedy, Ride Along 2 is the opposite of comedy. This is anti-comedy.
Ride Along 2 picks up sometime after Ride Along: Ben (Kevin Hart) is now a rookie police officer, and James (Ice Cube) is still a scowling, hard-boiled detective who seems to want to actively murder his future brother-in-law. Hart and Ice Cube have solid chemistry together, but it is not on display here. You can check out this remote bit on Conan to see just how much is being wasted in this movie by not asking either of them to do any more than the bare minimum required—Ice Cube scowls and wears sunglasses everywhere, Hart talks fast. His physical capability as a performer is completely wasted, which is a shame as Hart is a really good physical comedian.
The plot is generic and hardly matters. James still strongly opposes Ben marrying his sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter), and Ben is still anxious to prove himself to James. Now that he is a cop, that means that Ben wants to make the leap to detective as soon as he’s out of the police academy. The two end up going to Miami together to track down a drug dealer via a hacker (Ken Jeong), the plot point smacks of Furious 7, and it makes total sense that a rookie beat cop would get to participate in an inter-state investigation, yes. Benjamin Bratt stars as the drug dealer, and he’s the only person who exerts himself even a little bit, and Olivia Munn is a stone-faced detective in Miami and nominal love interest for James. She looks varying degrees of bored throughout the movie.
I’ve said it before and it’s still true—comedy sequels are hard. Ride Along 2 is just more of the same as Ride Along, but pushing the premise results in diminishing returns. 22 Jump Street made it work by deriving humor directly from the MORE and BIGGER nature of sequels, and also by spoofing specific elements of the buddy cop formula. But Ride Along 2 doesn’t draw jokes from its own repurposed plot—to be fair, it doesn’t draw jokes from anywhere—so we’re left with a bigger, louder, dumber version of Ride Along in which no one is trying. It’s depressing to see so many talented comedic performers given so very little to do. So skip the movie, watch the Conan bit instead, and wait for Kevin Hart’s other movie this year, which actually looks funny.
Attached - Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Berlin today promoting Ride Along 2.