Ride Along review (DVD)

Ride Along is the new buddy cop action/comedy from director Short, who is known for both Fantastic Four films back in 2005 and 2007. The plot for his newest outing follows the jumpy, video-game obsessed and unambitious security guard Ben Barber (Hart) as he tries to gain the marriage blessing of his girlfriend’s brother, James Payton (Cube) by shadowing him for a day in the life as a real police officer.

That’s all you need to know about the plot, because this film isn’t about story, or characters, or nuance in any form. It’s about cheap laughs, thinly-veiled stereotypes and one-dimensional characters. While the acting from the central duo of Cube and Hart fulfil is perfectly adequate, the pair trudge through obvious gags and overplayed action movie tropes that overstay their welcome within the first handful of scenes. The worst of these is the conveniently placed drawn-out bad guy monologue that allows our plucky hero to recover from a dire situation – just in time.

To think about this film in any real critical manner is to give it false credit – it never aspires that high. There’s nothing wrong with loud and silly action blockbusters – just look at films such as Independence Day or White House Down, which take you for a explosion-saturated whistle-stop experience while retaining some integrity. The problem Ride Along has is that it has none of the ambition that makes those big-budget blockbusters bearable, and only a fraction of the charm.

Hart provides some saving grace with an energetic performance, but in the end the unimaginative script, predictable storyline and caricatures rather than believable characters drag this film down to the depths of the boring – and worse, the easily forgettable.

EXTRAS None at all, which is strange because the Blu-ray (which was not available for review) has got loads – an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a gag reel, some featurettes and more. So why does none of this material appear on the DVD? Why are DVD buyers being shortchanged? It's a puzzle, all right.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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