Ride Along’s rehashing of cliché Hollywood gags makes forgettable film

by Jeffrey Robinowitz ’17

Tim Story’s Ride Along is a movie that will only ever be remembered as one of those films that came out when Kevin Hart was the man. Despite a highly enjoyable performance from the film’s star, Ride Along lacks ambition and originality, descending into the depths of clichéd comedy territory.

An analysis of the acting and characters in this film is utterly pointless. All the actors do a fine job and the characters are typical, uninteresting comedy film caricatures. The only actor worth looking at is Kevin Hart. The sole reason that many people will go to see this movie is to see Hart, and, if his presence is enough to entertain you, then you will love this movie. Hart, a comedian of undeniable talent, is hilarious. I can no longer tell if he is acting out a character, or if his onscreen personality is his real persona, but I don’t care.

From scene to scene, Hart will continually make you laugh out loud with his trademark high pitch screaming and over-the-top reactions. Even after almost two straight hours of his antics you would think he would have overstayed his welcome, but Hart somehow manages to never be boring or irritating.

If you want to see a great comedian at work then you will absolutely enjoy Ride Along. Unfortunately, this is not where the review ends, but it is where the praise ends.

The story is definitely the weakest component of this film. The story isn’t flawed in any crucial way; the film has an objective, it briskly moves from scene to scene, and there is very little in the way of wasted time or unnecessary information. However, these formulaic components are exactly what is wrong with the film.

The buddy-cop plotline is so overdone that the decision to cut out any kind of interesting side plots or unique twists makes this film feel like it is not only beating a dead horse, but it beat the animal into dust, collected the dust into bags, and shipped those bags to the four corners of the world. Again, there is nothing wrong with the story presented in the film; it is just a story that has been presented so many times that the audience will get sick of it. It does not enhance the comedy of the film in any particularly outstanding way and, ultimately, feels like an intrusion into what, otherwise, is a Kevin Hart comedy special with a guest appearance from Ice Cube.

The writing, much like the story, is the same set of cookie-cutter one-liners and physical comedy routines audiences have seen since film was invented. None of the jokes are so memorable that you will be quoting them to your friends for days after you see the film. The only reason any of the writing makes an impression, if only for a moment, is because it is delivered by an actor as talented as Kevin Hart. Again, the movie is Hart’s show. The film was created for him, the story was conceived for him, and the dialogue was most definitely written for him. I cannot imagine anyone else delivering these lines, and, in that regard, the writing succeeds. They are just the right jokes for a single man, but without Hart, the script can hardly stand on its own merit.

Ultimately, Ride Along is a completely forgettable experience. If you’ve seen Kevin Hart once, you’ve seen him a thousand times. He is a great presence on screen and his wild behavior will make you laugh every time, but nothing about his performance in this particular presentation warrants the $10 entry fee.

The film is a bland rehashing of the same stories and gags Hollywood has churned out for decades, and, unless you are a diehard Ice Cube fan, the film offers little else to entice you. Save your money for a rainy day and just watch some Kevin Hart stand-up online. It might be the same old thing, but at least it is free.

First-year Jeffrey Robinowitz is a staff writer. His email is jrobinow@fandm.edu.