Ride Along 2

Director: Tim Story

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt, Bruce McGill, Sherri Shepherd

Written by: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and (based on the characters created) Greg Coolidge

Running Time: 102 mins

Cert: 12A

Release date: 22nd January 2016

Is it really two years ago that we had to suffer the unfunny buddy comedy, Ride Along? That 48 Hrs/Rush Hour/Beverly Hills Cop hybrid minus the entertainment or the laughs was instantly forgettable, even while watching it. Yet enough people went to see it for us to be given the treat of a sequel, which is nothing more than the same jokes in different orders and in a different location.

Cop James Payton and his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Ben Barber, who is now a probationary cop, have to travel to Miami after discovering a pen drive that could have incriminating evidence, to find the hacker that rigged the device. Once there, they soon find themselves trying to protect AJ, the hacker in question, from a corrupt businessman.

Tim Story’s sequel follows the same, well-trodden path that every other cop comedy film has ever followed. Crammed with implausible pieces of detective work, while the occasional chase or explosion is carefully placed in order to wake the sleeping audience up. With its flashy cinematography and blatant misogynistic lingering on bikini-clad women, it replaces humour with noise and screeching, while the lazy action scenes neither moves the wafer thin plot along, or even makes the whole thing remotely interesting.

Surprisingly, while it lacks any real invention or originality, it isn’t as annoying or as painful as the first film, or for that matter, as repulsive as Get Hard, Kevin Hart’s screen monstrosity from last year. In fact, compared to that film, this is a masterpiece in comedy. Although the timing is way out and you just have the impression that the leads are just going through the motions.

Ice Cube, still playing super cool cop James still lacks any real comedy talent but plays it straight without an inch of comic talent, while Hart, who last time screamed and shouted his way through the proceedings, tries to control the shrill  noise that so often comes out of his mouth, yet cannot help from resorting back to it whenever the film hits a low. The film does have two aces up its sleeve that manage to raise it slightly ahead from the last outing. Olivia Munn as a Miami cop does have the odd moment and at least brings some life to the whole mess, while Ken Jeong, who proved his comic worth in the TV show, Community, does control his usual OTT performance as the geeky hacker.

In the end, Ride Along 2 is a lazy, limp comedy that goes along at a limp and lazy pace without throwing up any surprises or anything exciting. It’s certain to attract a large enough audience for there to be a third outing but when you compare it to previous action cop comedies, it’s as poor as Cop and a Half. It’s also another example of how poor American comedies are right now.



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