Ride Along 2

Directed By: Tim Story

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

I have no love lost for the original Ride Along, but it unfortunately made a decent chunk of change at the box office.  Given this, the greed machine that is Hollywood greenlit a totally unnecessary sequel.  That sequel arrives at the box office this weekend and is taking Kevin Hart and Ice Cube's less-than-interesting bromance to Miami.  It saddens me to say that Ride Along 2 is upon us.  The location change from Atlanta to Miami doesn't help, but I'm sure that won't matter to the droves of moviegoers running to the box office for a chuckle or two.  Trying to step halfway into the realm of action comedies like Rush Hour or Bad Boys and halfway into the world of video games, Ride Along 2 fails wholly on both fronts and does anything but find its funny bone.

After the events of the original Ride Along, Ben Barber (Hart) is now a beat cop and an aspiring detective.  Shadowing his future brother in law James Payton (Cube) and Detective Mayfield (Tyrese Gibson), the tough-talking rookie officer finds himself in trouble once again.  In a rather explosive undercover operation, Ben once again proves to James that he's simply not capable of being a real cop.  Preparing to marry James’s sister Angela (Tika Sumpter), Ben would like nothing more than to spend his remaining days as a single man in Miami with James, who happens to be headed down there for a case.  Given his feelings on Ben's limited potential in law enforcement, James initially refuses to bring what he considers to be a liability with him on the trip.  After some nudging from Angela, however, James relents.  From here, the mischief begins.  With the help of Miami PD detective Maya Cruz (Olivia Munn), the future brothers-in-law seek out hacker A.J. (Ken Jeong) to get some intel for the case on which they’re working.  Somehow, the dynamic duo gets caught up in the affairs of wealthy Floridian Antonio Pope (Benjamin Pratt).

Pixels, billed as the video game-themed comedy extravaganza, was an utter disaster both critically and commercially.  Its Razzie nomination for worst motion picture of 2015 cemented its place in future bargain bins at retailers around the country.  Apparently, director Tim Story didn't get the memo.  With video game references abound, Ride Along 2 certainly gets just as silly as Pixels in many respects as Kevin Hart goes into his game mode in many of the film's money scenes.  When you couple this with the double whammy of Kevin Hart and Ken Jeong, it's really just too much.  Mixing their outlandish brands of comedy is entirely too much for any moviegoer.  All in all, this leads to an uneven comedy in which Gucci toilets become a heavy topic of conversation and a wholly dissatisfying film befitting the January doldrums.

Our leads offer the same old shtick with their stale bromance.  For his part as Ben Barber, perennially overexposed comedian Kevin Hart brings the same zany, over-the-top character I've come to loathe.  He does nothing to bring any new or inventive comedy to his second take on Ben whatsoever.  To make matters worse, we've got three more times this year with Hart delivering the same old act on the big screen.  For his part as James Payton, Ice Cube wears a pouty face throughout the movie that rivals Paul Ryan's at President Obama's final State of the Union address earlier this week.  Like Hart, Ice Cube once again gives us the same old character we've seen in a number of his comedies in recent years.  He's the same old grumpy man of few words in a disappointing lead performance.  With the exception of The Newsroom's Olivia Munn whose work I could never hate, the performances from the supporting cast members are just as underwhelming as those of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.

It's safe to say that I'm not in love with Ride Along 2.  It wholly lacks originality and offers few chuckles throughout its runtime.  You're going to need some mystery shots for this one.  Ride Along 2 gets a wasted rating.