"Ride Along 2"
Release Date: Jan. 15, 2016
Running Time: 101 minutes
Imagine a Bad Boys sequel rated PG-13 and without the deafening action sequences, flashy cinematography, and fast edits. Welcome to Ride Along 2, a generic sequel to a generic buddy cop comedy with zero interest in developing the relationship between Ice Cube’s grumpy detective and his future brother-in-law, Kevin Hart’s rookie uniform officer. Instead, Ride Along 2 is all about the naughty and nice things Miami has to tempt the Atlanta cops. It’s as if director Tim Story just discovered the sun, sand and neon nightlights of the Magic City. Good for him. Unfortunately, the rest of us already know about Miami, and Michael Bay’s Bad Boys series has already a good job of defining it as a playground for the rich, famous, and unbelievable sexy within the context of a buddy cop comedy. Not that this stops Story from getting overwhelmed with all of the clichés that surround Miami, from throwing Gloria Estefan on the soundtrack and pitting Hart against an alligator. Days before Hart’s wedding to Cube’s sister, Cube and Hart go to Miami to follow a lead stemming from an arrest of an low-level Atlanta drug dealer (Austin’s very own Glen Powell). Hart’s still in training, and Cube sees the Miami trip as another opportunity to scare Hart off the job. They team up with Olivia Munn’s no-nonsense cop and coerce Ken Jeong’s hacker into helping them go after his boss, Benjamin Bratt’s businessman/drug dealer. As with Ride Along, Cube spends all his time staring dismissively at Hart. In turn, Hart squanders all his frenetic energy proving to Cube that he has what it takes to be both his brother-in-law and a detective. Their relationship at the start of Ride Along 2 hasn’t improved since the end of Ride Along, with Cube still believing Hart possesses the street smarts of a newborn baby. It goes nowhere fast from there as the script requires Cube to deny Hart any credit he deserves for advancing their investigation. Given Cube’s stoniness, it’s hard to tell whether his cop doesn’t believe Hart has contributed to their case or simply refuses to acknowledge the good Hart does. Of course, it’s hard not to be as annoyed as Cube is given he has to put up with the grating Hart’s incessant babbling. Hart, though, finds his match in Jeong, who also doesn’t know when to shut his mouth. He’s positioned as the Joe Pesci of Ride Along 2, which is a good thing when he and Hart are riffing together and a bad thing when he getting under Cube’s (and our) skin. There’s more chemistry between Hart and Jeong than there is between Cube and Munn, who’s set up as Cube’s love interest just because their stoic cops are cut from the same cloth. Munn isn’t given much to do other than to occasionally slip into something tight and revealing, although her physical intimidation of Hart evokes a laugh or two. The slow-burning Bratt also is underused as Ride Along 2’s big bad, just as Lawrence Fishburne was in Ride Along. But the Ride Along series isn’t about the bad guys. It’s about Cube and Hart and whether they can coexist. Perhaps they can, perhaps they can’t. But Ride Along 2 is just content to let Cube be Cube and Hart be Hart without trying once again to find any middle ground.
Aired: Jan. 14, 2016
Web site: http://www.ridealong.com/