By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Odd-couple buddy-cop flick is violent, predictable but fun.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Even the toughest of us must sometimes learn to trust, and rely upon, others. You might even realize that other people are willing and eager to help out.
Positive Role Models
Ben clearly loves his fiancee and is willing to do almost anything to win the approval of her stern brother, James. But James is initially unwilling to give his future brother-in-law a chance and gives him a very difficult time before he gets to know him. Ride Along doesn't try to portray women in more than a damsels-in-distress role, however. Its sole female character does little more than argue, look pretty, and need rescuing.
Violence & Scariness
Many explosions, gunfights, hand-to-hand combat, and other mayhem, which is partly offset by the movie's comedic tone. Some characters get shot, and bleed profusely but don't die. One scene includes thugs threatening a prisoner with a knife. The film also shows a gamer playing violent videogames, which is portrayed as an important source of expertise for a cop-to-be.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sex or nudity, though there's some passionate kissing. A few scenes feature very colorful innuendo. One character makes numerous references to the size of his penis.
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Language includes "bitch," "p---y," "ass," and several variations of "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
The characters spend much of the movie driving in a Dodge Charger. During a high-speed chase, a cop in sudden need of a vehicle rejects a Toyota Prius, which he disparages as unsuitable for his needs. One character wears a Nike athletic shirt, and is excited to discuss its wicking properties. Several well-known gun manufacturers are mentioned by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One quick scene shows people with beers at a party.
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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.
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Where to Watch
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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
- Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors, Latinx actors
- 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
- Last updated: April 1, 2023
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