Ride Along 2 Parent Review
With a plot that could be told in under a half hour, the rest of this 90 minute movie is dedicated to bachelor jokes and the objectification of women.
Once again Ice Cube warms up his acting chops to play James Payton, a tough Atlanta cop. Behaving as his textbook foil is Kevin Hart, whose character Ben Barber has finished police academy and has his first, albeit probationary, job on the force. It was tough believing Ben was a cop-in-training during the first film, but accepting him as a real law enforcement officer here is even more of a stretch. In this sequel, Ben is still engaged to James’s sister Angela (Tika Sumpter), although the wedding is now just a week away. Despite the closeness of the big event, Ben begs to “ride along” with James on an assignment to hunt down a suspicious computer hacker in Miami. Promising to return in time for the nuptials, Angela is relieved to get Ben out of her hair while she finishes last minute preparations. I would be too.
Soon after their arrival in the Florida city the pair locate their man, A.J. (Ken Jeong), and tear through the streets of Little Cuba trying to arrest him. The damage they leave behind doesn’t impress the local police force and, conveniently, the Miami chief (Carlos Gómez) assigns the lovely Maya (Olivia Munn) to keep an eye on them. The homicide detective is depicted as tough and intelligent, so it again requires the audience to “suspend disbelief” when she accepts Officer Barber as a professional—even after he shoots one of her colleagues in the shoulder.
Bumbling through a series of mishaps, they discover A.J. is into much deeper issues than they initially thought. Currently working for Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt), a man who is regarded as a pillar in the community, our trio of stooges learn the tycoon is actually a king pin in the drug and arms business. Observing A.J. cooperating with the police, Antonio sends his thugs to take care of the computer geek, forcing our men and woman in blue to protect their informant.
With a plot that could be told in under a half-hour, the other hour of this 90ish-minute movie is dedicated to allowing Hart to be a comedian. Deriving humor from the premise that his wannabe cop desperately wants to bond with his much cooler, brother-in-law, and filling the gaps with bachelor jokes and references to on-line sex sites, the shtick gets old quick. During times when he’s doing his blabbering bit, it’s obvious the director isn’t sure what to do with the co-stars, or the legions of extras (usually scantily clad females) that populate most of the scenes.
Sadly, women seem to hold a singular purpose in this film that is ornamented with countless lingerie-model bodies dressed in tiny bikinis. Angela also makes an appearance in a sexy-police costume while attempting to seduce her distracted fiancé and even Maya shows up at a crime scene wearing a sports bra and leggings.
When the gang finally does get down to doing actual police work there are confrontations involving guns—some characters are shot on screen and we see mild blood effects. Also depicted are hand-to-hand conflicts, explosions and automobile accidents. One of these car chases morphs into a video game, as Ben suddenly visualizes the world through the eyes of his favorite pastime, and begins maneuvering his vehicle around countless obstacles while in pursuit of bad guys. (That’s not a great message for kids who are susceptible to confusing fantasy and reality.)
Perhaps the best message Ride Along 2 attempts to present is a greeting card moment at the prescribed happy ending when James welcomes Ben into the family. That might be enough for Kevin Hart fans, but for the rest of us this excursion is little more than a drive by looting of box office dollars.Directed by Tim Story. Starring Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release January 15, 2016. Updated April 26, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Ride Along 2 here.
Ride Along 2 Parents Guide
What are the dangers of mixing violence with comedy? How might this combination influence the way we view serious crime?
Do you ever wonder what Angela sees in Ben? Does her total acceptance of him reflect poorly on her critical thinking skills? Or is it a sign of true love? How would a person like Ben Barber fair in real life? Why does his character work best in a movie script?