Movie Review: Formulaic buddy comedy with plenty of tiresome clichés

Movie Review: Formulaic buddy comedy with plenty of tiresome clichés

By ANUBHAV PARSHEERA | | 30 January, 2016
Poster of Ride Along 2
Ride Along 2
Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Heart, Olivia Munn
Ride Along 2 reunites the dependable duo of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube from the first instalment. The film is intermittently funny but does not accomplish anything not done before. Ben Barber(Kevin Hart) is the eager brother looking for his future brother-in-law James Payton’s(Ice Cube) approval. The film picks up where the first left off, and most of the action takes place in Miami. Together, the two must learn to team up and take on Antonio Pope(Benjamin Bratt), who is, a drug lord in the guise of a socially respectable man. 
As is the norm, there is a menacing drug lord with a foreign accent who must be taken down. Also starring is Olivia Munn, as Maya, a tough homicide detective who is inserted into the script to give Ice Cube a romantic interest, and for that mandatory sequence where she must seduce and distract the bad guy so that the men can steal information from his computer. 
Ken Jeong, as AJ, a hacker plays a small-time criminal once again, but does a good job of it. Most of the actors in the movie seem to have signed the movie because it plays to their strengths. As a result, the characters do not have a novelty about them. There are few moments in the film that are laugh-out-loud funny, but some of them might elicit a grin.  
The first part had turned out to be unexpectedly funny and because of that, the sequel has generated a generous amount of buzz. The film stays strictly within the formulaic confines of the typical action/comedy that Hollywood is churning out with regularity. Familiar tropes such as car chases, foot chases, exclusive parties with foreign dignitaries, pen drives with top secret information, explosions, bad guys with accents and stakeouts are all part of the package. 
Most buddy cop comedies depict an unlikely partnership with one reluctant partner and the other overtly eager one. Ride Along 2 is no different.  One of the interesting things about the two principal characters is that they have not been written keeping race in mind. The two principal characters could have been easily played by an actor of any ethnicity. Race is not milked for comedy here, which is a rarity when a non-white actor plays a lead in a comedy. In times when big films with black actors as main characters are still a rarity, this film sticks out. 
For a guy named Ice Cube, Ice Cube seems to have a rather serious disposition towards life. But considering he has a sum total of one facial expression, he proves yet again that he has a surprising knack for comedy. Few can excel at scowling as well as he does.. His perennial glare is the perfect foil to the high-pitched enthusiasm of Kevin Hart. 
Hart, on the other hand proves why he is possibly one of the bigger success stories in Hollywood right now and has made a smooth transition from stand-up to the big screen. The two have proven in the first instalment Ride Along, as well as their repeated segments on the show Conan that they have an unmistakeable comedic chemistry. However, when it comes to individual performance, Hart seems to be stuck in the persona he has created through his stand-up acts. In order to further prove his mettle, he needs to shed that image and star in a solo venture. 
A lot of the humor is derived from the small stature and clumsiness of Kevin Hart, which is a low hanging fruit from the comedy tree. There are very few genuinely funny situations, and the ones that are seem like a re-write from movies already made. 
All in all, the movie surely is entertaining and a one-time watch, but we won’t be quoting any of the lines from it in the time to come. Although funny in spurts, Ride Along 2 isn’t close to the best work of any of the cast. Despite a strong start it fizzles out towards the end and goes out with a whimper. 

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