In this derivative action-comedy, Kevin Hart stars as Ben, a security guard with dreams of joining the police force. His chance arrives when his girlfriend’s brother—hard-ass Atlanta cop James (Ice Cube, giving a master class in the art of the contemptuous look)—offers him the chance of a "ride along": a Training Day–style immersion into high-level crimebusting. If Ben impresses, James will grant him permission to propose to his sister, of whom he is fiercely protective.
Director Tim Story (Fantastic Four) locates the right blend of humor and action in a couple of taut sequences, but Ride Along is saddled with an uninvolving plot, and largely content to coast on cop-movie clichés. It leans heavily on Hart for laughs, but his manic flailing irritates more often than it amuses. Plenty here stretches credibility, but nothing rings less true than the unalloyed embodiment of male fantasy that is Ben’s girlfriend (Sumpter), who is endlessly supportive of her beau’s juvenile antics, and permanently sexually desirous of him. Ride Along also peddles some extremely dubious messages, the most worrying of which is the suggestion that playing violent video games—as Ben does—is ultimately the most effective police training.