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New Release Review - RIDE ALONG 2

The 'brothers in law' are back!



Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Tim Story

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong



The buddy cop movie is a winning formula. It's drama at its simplest. You shouldn't be able to get this wrong, yet the folks behind Ride Along somehow have. Twice.



The buddy cop movie is a winning formula, one that's produced such gems as 48 Hrs, Lethal Weapon and Busting. Take two characters, one uptight and professional, the other a borderline psychotic maverick, and let them knock heads for 90 minutes while trying to put their differences aside to take down a shared nemesis. It's drama at its simplest. You shouldn't be able to get this wrong, yet the folks behind Ride Along somehow have. Twice.
This time Ben Barber (an annoying as ever Kevin Hart) is a rookie cop, much to the chagrin of Ice Cube's Detective James Peyton, whose sister (Tika Sumpter) he's about to wed. When Peyton is guilted by his sis into taking Ben along on a case in Miami, hilarity ensues. Except, of course, it doesn't. Not one bit. Ride Along 2 doesn't even register on the single laugh scale, unless you count the filmmakers, who are laughing all the way to the bank (this is the movie that finally toppled The Force Awakens off the top of the US box office).
I couldn't figure out whether Ride Along 2 was devoid of a plot or whether it was just too labyrinthine for me to keep up with. There's something about a drug smuggler (Benjamin Bratt, doing his best Ricardo Montalban impersonation) who's tight with the Miami PD, but all you really need to know is that the movie is a lazy remake of Lethal Weapon 3 with Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn in the Joe Pesci and Rene Russo roles. Munn is particularly awful here, and appears to have forgotten her lines in several scenes, spending most of the movie standing around with a deeply confused expression.
At one point Ken Jeong cracks some joke about Asians and Won Ton or something; "It's not racist when I say it," is his followup. This could well be the film's tag-line, as the movie appears to believe that casting minorities allows it to deal in levels of misogyny (every female in the movie appears to have fake breasts, and they're all asked to display cleavage at some point) and racism (no African-American, Asian or Latino stereotype is overlooked) that would supply a year's worth of thinkpieces were its leads white. All this nastiness jars with the PG friendly lack of swearing and violence, and visually the film resembles the sort of Christian themed production that's become popular in the US recently. Had this been made 40 years ago it might have starred Isaac Hayes and Richard Pryor, and it would have stuck it to the man, but sadly it seems the buddy cop genre has run its course.
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