A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ride Along is a buddy cop comedy with lots of gunplay, fistfights, and car chases, and a few impressive explosions. Some scenes include lots of blood, but the movie's less-than-serious tone makes the action seem less brutal. Expect moderate swearing (mostly variations on "s--t") and some creative sexual innuendo.
What's the story?
A never-before-seen crime lord named Omar is building a presence in Atlanta, and detective James (Ice Cube) has been working his sources trying to identify and nab him before he does major damage. But the elusive mastermind keeps slipping his grasp. Meantime, his sister, Angela (Tamika Sumpter), is close to getting engaged with her boyfriend, Ben (Kevin Hart), a high school guard who thinks he has the goods to become a full-fledged cop (he's just been accepted to the police academy), thanks to his considerable video-gaming prowess. James wants to dissuade Ben from his line of work, and perhaps scare him off forever (from the job and his sister) by inviting him to ride along one day at work. But predictably, things go awry.
Is it any good?
RIDE ALONG won't breathe new life into the buddy-cop genre. It hews pretty much to the tried-and-true (and tired) principles, which include making sure said would-be buddies hate each other in the beginning, and wind up friends in the end. Much chaos and hilarity ensue in between. But here, plot points seem more superfluous than usual for the genre. The supposedly ridiculously hilarious setups don't seem ridiculous enough. (See: civilian confronting biker gang.)
Nonetheless, the movie perks up in its second half, with a delicious casting twist that will incite cheers and Hart and Ice Cube displaying chemistry before unseen. If only their earlier animosity had been convincing and creative. Instead, it relies on the usual and irritatingly superficial tropes (Ben talks too much). Also, it's a pity to see John Leguizamo relegated to a thankless small role; his signature banter could have enlivened earlier proceedings. The fairly thrilling driving sequences that open the film do a good job of luring audiences in, though. And by time time the movie ends, Hart wins you over, but only just.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's take on video game violence. Ben appears to tap into skills he learned playing them, but does the film gloss over any downsides?
How does a movie's tone affect the impact of violent content?
Was it surprising to learn who the bad guys are? What do you think drove the choices they made?
- In theaters: January 17, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: April 15, 2014
- Cast: Ice Cube, John Leguizamo, Kevin Hart
- Director: Tim Story
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.