After storming the box office in 2014, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube not-so-buddy-cop combo saddle up once more for Ride Along 2. The surprisingly successful first film helmed by Barbershop’s Tim Story (who has returned to direct) is all about the soon-to-be brother-in-law duo Ben (Hart) and James’ (Cube) rocky relationship. One is the a-typical steely eyed detective (James), the other’s a wannabee cop with a big mouth (Ben), and oh-so-unsurprisingly the pair clash in this beat-by-beat generic action-comedy bore job.
First thing’s first: James still doesn’t like Ben, Ben’s still marrying James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter), and the latter’s penis is still nicknamed ‘Black Hammer’. Move the story along a few months from where the first outing left it, and although the working dynamic between the pair is the same, we find ourselves just days away from Ben and Angela’s nuptials. With Hart’s irritating, games-console-loving probationary cop still eager to impress the big wig soon-to-be-family detective, the Atlanta-based officer’s head to Miami to bust a big time drug dealer in time for the big day.
With Kevin Hart acting like a hyperactive 12-year-old who’s sucked on too many sugar plums, his shouty-shouty approach to comedy once again feels like nails against a chalkboard. After overrunning the 2014 hit with tiresome racial jokes, they appear to have been toned down for outing number two – yet what seems to have replaced them is a void of nothingness. Given the high volume of silly, stupid and unoriginal gags (one’s a rubbish cop, the other Mr. Serious… Why do they not get along!?! Yawn!) that we’re subjected to from our respected leads, it fell to Ken Jeong’s (The Hangover) A.J., the playboy computer hacker, to rinse out the film’s solitary LOL one-liner, taking aim at Ice Cube’s intimidating (and as ever, expected) onscreen presence.
There’s nothing offensive or eye-gaugingly terrible about Ride Along 2; It’s bog-standard action-comedy fodder. Worse than the first, but certainly not as terrible as other comedic releases of late, with a couple of so-so car chases and the ever-occasional smirk-inducing gag, it’s remarkably unmemorable.