Ride Along (2014)

(Video on Demand, December 2014)  By now, the mismatched-buddy-cop routine is old, so it’s more a matter of execution than originality of premise.  Here, Kevin Hart gets to play a diminutive motor-mouth trying to impress a grizzled police officer in order to earn his approval to marry his sister.  It’s all familiar stuff (and no one will go see Ride Along in order to make sense of its criminal subplot), but fortunately it’s sufficiently well-made to carry viewers along for the ride.  Ice Cube as a gruff cop is now practically typecasting (although there’s a pretty funny flash-cut with a Cypress Hill sting), and he plays it as well as anyone could.  Hart himself is also funny in a role that easily could have turned annoying.  The film is by-the-number (in fact, so by-the-number that you can find an admiring mention of its early script in the 2004 formula-screenwriter’s-bible Save the Cat!) but unobjectionably charming in its own mass-market sanitized way.  It may not amount to much, but it’s a decent time-waster.

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