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Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are back on the case for the sequel to their 2014 hit. But does Ride Along 2 have enough in the tank to keep the franchise going? Click here to find out!

 

“Wanna know how come I got the Hangover role instead of Jackie Chan? Listen closely …” Ben (Kevin Hart, left) and James (Ice Cube) react to the latest revelation of AJ (Ken Jeong) in a scene from director Tim Story’s RIDE ALONG 2. Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 


KEY VOICE CAST MEMBERS: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Bruce McGill, Tika Sumpter and Sherri Shepherd 

WRITER(S): Phil Hat and Matt Manfredi (written by); Greg Coolidge (characters)

DIRECTOR(S): Tim Story

60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT): Back for a second adventure after 2014’s surprise box office hit, Ride Along 2 once again stars Kevin Hart as Ben Barber, a video game enthusiast who has finally become a member of the Atlanta Police Dept. … As a low level beat cop. His soon-to-be brother-in-law James (Ice Cube), however, is what Ben really wants to be: A detective. And even though James has softened his stance on his sister Angela (Tika Sumpter) marrying him, he has no qualms about telling Ben he is just not detective material.

Of course, Ben ends up interjecting himself into James’ latest case tracking down a drug dealer who has a mysteriously encrypted flash drive on him. That flash drive leads James to need to travel to Miami to track down a hacker simply named AJ (Ken Jeong), which gives Ben the perfect opportunity to tag – er, make that ride – along with him to show he has what it takes … As well as let Angela and Cori (Sherri Shepherd) finish planning the wedding in peace.

So what happens when Ben and James – a.k.a. the “brothers-in-law” – hit South Beach? As you might expect, nothing goes quite like they expect …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Die-hard Kevin Hart fans; people who enjoy staring at Olivia Munn; people who like Ken Jeong; people who have spent too many hours playing Grand Theft Auto-style video games 

WHO WONT (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People tiring of Hart’s same-natured film projects and/or find them a bit uninspired; people who didn’t like the original Ride Along; Olivia Munn fans who wish she had more to do in the film; Benjamin Bratt fans who think he would be above a project like this

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? “Harmless albeit familiar fun.”Those were the words I found ruminating in my head after finishing Ride Along 2, which attempts to break no new ground while being just entertaining enough to keep you from completely detesting it. It’s by no means a “good” movie by good movie standards, yet it finds a way to keep you watching it the entire time.

Hart and Cube have a weird chemistry – not good, not bad, but … weird. You understand why Cube’s hard-edged James does not like him, for his character has all the same critiques about Hart’s character Ben as many of Hart’s detractors have about him as a real person. (He’s loud, he’s annoying, he’s always doing something when he should just chill out a minute yet while nine things he does are ridiculous, the tenth may be, as Cube’s character says, “genius.”) While there is nothing genius about Ride Along 2 – the thin plot is well, thin, Sherri Shepherd’s role as Ben and Angela’s wedding planner doesn’t really make sense given how she argues with both of them and the less said about the scene with the alligator, the better – director Tim Story delivers a competent enough story to keep you enticed enough to watch it to completion.

Then again, if you’re coming to Ride Along 2, you’ve likely seen Ride Along – which means you likely aren’t coming for the story as much as you are to watch Hart be hyperactive, watch Cube make that scowl he’s made since the days of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and see Jeong do what he did with the Hangover sequels, Community and what the real-life doctor-turned-stand-up-comic-turned-actor is trying to do on Dr. Ken: Save subpar material with his “Go-for-it” personality. Sadly, Olivia Munn does her best to keep things moving with as Detective Maya Cruz and staying in character … But the character seems just slightly out of place with the Cube/Hart/Jeong dynamic. (The fact she seems to be channeling Stephanie Beatriz’s Rosa Diaz but not as well is also a potential whoopise.)

Director Tim Story has a nice little video game sequence in the film that works, Cube and Hart make their weird chemistry watchable, Sumpter and Munn do the best they can to keep it together and Jeong does enough to make the piece salvageable. It makes Ride Along 2 one of those movies that if you happened to be flipping through the channels on a Saturday afternoon, you’d watch … Until you find something else better to do.

Hopefully, Hart has something better in him – or at least will find it before Ride Along 3 likely gets greenlit and it suffers from sequel-itis even though this one is better than its predecessor – even though that’s not really saying too much. Much like Hart and Cube their respective selves, Ride Along 2 is likable … enough. It’s just not their best work.

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

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