Despite Kevin Smith’s Cop Out doing its damnedest to make me never enjoy another buddy cop comedy again, The Heat has finished wiping the slate clean, and Think Like a Man’s Tim Story is inviting America to Ride Along with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in a fight against crime, one corny joke at a time. I’m looking forward to this movie more than I thought I would before the first trailer came out, and it’s based mostly on the chemistry between the two leads, which covers up any imperfections with energetic line readings.

Hart plays Ben, a high-school security guard whose life is about to change now that he’s been accepted into the police academy, which he hopes will impress his fiancé Angela (Tika Sumpter). Of course, Angela’s brother James (Cube) is this badass detective who thinks Ben is just some small fry. (And rightfully so, as most people who stand up against Ice Cube fail to come off as very menacing.) So James takes Ben on a ride along in the vein of Training Day, which ends up being a ridiculously action-packed trip that puts them up against one of the city’s most dangerous criminals.

Even though Training Day is the movie name-checked, Ride Along is essentially a melting pot of Lethal Weapon B-stories, where Hart is playing both Joe Pesci’s "how did I get mixed up in all this?" role as well as Chris Rock’s "I’m just trying to marry Murtaugh’s daughter" role. Luckily, I don’t think anyone is too old for this shit, because some of the jokes hit, like James being impressed that Ben broke a glass case with a man’s head, while other jokes are pretty painful to sit through, like the opening proposal fake-out and the exaggerated gun recoil. How am I supposed to actually care about the eventual danger that these characters are in when Looney Tunes is apparently one of the inspirations?

That said, I’ll watch this without any hesitation when I’m in the mood for a flick that doesn’t have white guys making dick jokes the whole time. But if the trailers themselves weren’t enough, somebody behind Ride Along also had the genius idea to make a clip from Hart performing a rendition of Skee-Lo’s I Wish. Oh, you know the song if you were watching MTV in 1995.



If something that random and fourth wall-breaking happened in Ride Along, I’d be all the more impressed. It would make up for seeing another lame take on the "man screaming like a woman" joke. Get your game face on and take a ride when the film hits theaters on January 17, 2014.

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