Two years ago Ride Along came out of nowhere (and bucked scathing critics) to earn $135 million and finish the year in the top 25. So naturally a sequel was a no-brainer.

And it turns out, that’s exactly what Ride Along 2 is.

Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, along with director Tim Story, have gone out of their way, it seems, to not go out of their way. While many sequels stick close to the formula of the original, Ride Along 2 takes it to a whole new level. Save for changing the setting to Miami, it’s the same movie– a largely laughless retread of a tired story.

Kevin Hart is still Ben Barber, a few months into his probationary period as a rookie with the Atlanta Police Department. Ice Cube is still James Payton, a seasoned cop and Ben’s imminent brother in law.

Naturally a case comes across James’ desk which necessitates his immediate presence on South Beach, and naturally Ben wants to tag along and convince James of his worth as a police officer. James still thinks of Ben as a little flea who needs to get flicked, but he sees the trip as a prime opportunity to prove once and for all that Ben has no place on the force.

This time around Benjamin Bratt gets the villain role, playing super-rich Miami wheeler-n-dealer Antonio Pope, who is using the port as his own personal funnel for guns, drugs, and all manner of corruption. Ken Jeong joins the party as a turncoat inside Pope’s organization, and Olivia Munn snapped up a paycheck as a Miami cop along for the ride. And, of course, she shows up to crime scenes fresh from the gym, wearing a sports bra and leggings.

There’s no denying Hart’s manic personality does add some spark to Ride Along 2, but since James spends the better part of the film telling us how annoying Ben is, it’s impossible for us not to eventually start agreeing with him. Sure enough Hart’s schtick does get old quickly, but more than that is the inescapable feeling that the lazy screenplay was probably the easiest money ever made in Hollywood. Apparently Hay and Manfredi sat down with a sheet of paper and scribbled “the same movie as the first one” on it.


There’s little doubt a Ride Along will be along shortly (heck, the script is already written, amiright?), and since we already know the plot, the only (and I mean only) question is what exotic locale will be picked as the backdrop. Yawn.


2/5 stars