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Review: Ride Along 2

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Kevin Hart and Ice Cube star in Universal's "RIDE ALONG 2"

After the record breaking returns of the first one, the people behind Ride Along 2 had to feel even more comfortable with their decision to push through with the sequel. While it wasn’t a great comedy, it certainly attracted an audience. Will the second be as popular? I don’t know, but I think there may be enough in it to reward any fans of the first film who want to give it a chance.

This sequel picks up a little bit after the first as Ice Cube’s James Payton and Kevin Hart’s Ben Barber are about to become brothers through marriage. Although he’s now officially on the police force, Ben still hasn’t proven he can make it as an officer of the law in the eyes of James. The only way he can do that is prove it. Luckily, he gets a chance to do just that after a lead sends the team to Miami to look in on Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt), a well liked Miami businessman who may also be a dangerous criminal.

First off, Ride Along 2 is a bit funnier than the original since they do find gags and awkward scenarios to put Kevin Hart in. While none of it is insane or highly memorable, there’s enough included to get consistent reactions from members of the public who choose to go see it. If you’re one of those people, it’s unlikely you will regret heading out to your local theater.

To be honest, this is a shocking aspect for myself. Since it’s a sequel, I didn’t anticipate the jokes being better this time around. I guess playing off of each character’s personality at times helped whether they are being showcased in specific scenes or are just being asked to compliment someone else. Either way, it’s good more than it is bad. Especially these days, that’s sometimes all you can hope for when asking for a decent comedy.

To go along with the humor, there’s also some solid chemistry between the two leads in Ride Along 2. It seems as if that part of their relationship has improved as well. Then again, much of what they’re doing here is also similar to what was done in the first film. Predicated on that, it’s easy to see how they are able to work well together here. Getting together for a second would allow the duo to become more comfortable with what the other is bringing. That knowledge can help in situations where there needs to something that looks natural and believable.

While touching on it, I’ll also take this time to point out that this follows the typical formula of making sequels in Hollywood. They tend to cross familiar territory here in a plethora of ways, but it’s done in a fashion that doesn’t allow for it to feel completely repetitive and effortless. Doing it this way gives audiences a decent sense of familiarity while also making this at least appear to be kind of new.

Speaking of new, Olivia Munn is one of the newer cast mates here. Now, she’s known more for her looks than she is her acting skills, but she’s actually not too bad here. She’s playing some sort of female version of Ice Cube’s character and does it quite well. Her lack of personality in this movie actually displays some range that I didn’t know she had. That’s a good thing, because it shows that she’s learning and is more than the pretty face that we all know she is.

Just as it’s difficult to look passed Olivia Munn’s looks, it’s also hard not to notice all of the attractiveness spread across Ride Along 2. Of course, there’s the lovely Tika Sumpter, but even the extras and small time characters are nice to look at. In thinking about it, this is a movie with some of the most “eye candy” you will ever see. Maybe they did this to glamorize Miami a bit, or maybe they did it just because they could. Whatever the reason, it’s worth noting and there will probably be some people happy that the decision was made to do this.

While I was skeptical about it myself, Ride Along 2 shocked me a little bit by maybe being better than the original. Even if it’s not a great comedy, this shows that there was legitimate effort put into it by the people behind getting it out there. This is something that’s easy to appreciate since that doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of the movies they push out there these days.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Tim Story

Ice Cube
Kevin Hart
Ken Jeong
Benjamin Bratt
Olivia Munn
Bruce McGill
Tika Sumpter

Film Length: 102 minutes

Release Date: January 15, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

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