Wyatt Muma ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Editor
2015 was undoubtedly the year of the sequel. From Star Wars: the Force Awakens to Mad Max: Fury Road, the screen was lit up with imaginative continuations of stories audiences know and love. If Ride Along 2 is any indication, 2016 will be quite the opposite. Following the antics of James Payton (Ice Cube) and his bumbling brother-in-law Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), the movie comes off as a poor man’s 21 Jump Street. Despite it’s best attempts to craft a rollicking, action-adventure thriller, the mystery seems to be planned out by a writer fired from Blue’s Clues, the rampant misogyny and Shrek-level fart jokes keep this film from becoming something other than mid-January cinema fodder.
The film, seemingly hashed together from unused ideas from the Heat, opens up on the characters we know, and perhaps love, trying to bust a drug lord. Once poor helpless Kevin Hart botches the job, the “team” is sent on a high stakes mission to find the real leader of the drug operation in Miami. The most disappointing aspect isn’t the fact that the movie is tonally uneven and horribly unfunny, but the fact that it actually had a lot going for it! For one, the cast is incredibly diverse. Supporting players like Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong are talented comedians who are welcome additions. It’s very rare, and should be celebrated, when so many underappreciated performers come together for a project.
Unfortunately, all brownie points are lost once the diversity itself becomes the butt of jokes. Accents and stereotypes are consistently made fun of, leading the film to be a sad caricature of itself. The other highpoint is, surprisingly, the costumes. The vibrant clothing perfectly matches the fun and vivacious location of Miami. They’re fun, without being distracting, and true to the characters. That being said, the costumes and diversity aren’t enough to overcome the film’s bigger issues.
Other than being embarrassingly predictable, the plot really isn’t that interesting. Olivia Munn is, as always, underused. There isn’t one scene where she isn’t used for simple eye candy and in one situation she even shows up in nothing but a sports bra! Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are only playing caricatures of their real selves, and aren’t that convincing as a comedy duo. However, its unclear if the film even wants to be a good movie. It could very well be the start of a new B-movie renaissance, with Ride Along 2 as the crown jewel in this new modern age of low-level filmmaking. Perhaps the Academy should consider creating new categories for “Best Use of Iggy Azalea Song” and “Best Kimono on Film,” two awards this film would surely have in the bag.
Overall Grade: C
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