Peter Travers finds himself in a peculiar position on At the Movies this week as he highlights Ride Along, a predictable, one-star cop comedy that would otherwise be headed straight for the scum bucket if it weren’t for a stellar performance from Kevin Hart.
Ride Along has been burning up the typically frigid January box office, raking in a record-breaking $50 million during its opening weekend. Set in Atlanta, the film stars Hart as Ben Barber, a rent-a-cop in love with a woman named Angela Payton (Tika Sumpter), whose brother, James (Ice Cube), is a tough-as-nails P.O. set on proving to his sister that Ben is no good. As Travers notes, Hart’s particular brand of self-effacing comedy has been the beating heart of a handful of crummy movies lately – including the otherwise atrocious Grudge Match – and Ride Along is no different. While much of the dialogue and jokes fall flat, Travers says, “Kevin Hart keeps the energy in this movie going, whatever energy is in it.”
Whether Hart’s excellent, engaging brand of self-effacing comedy makes a terrible movie worth seeing is up for you to decide, but just know the Philadelphian isn’t going anywhere soon: He’s starring in next month’s About Last Night, and his excellent BET show The Real Husbands of Hollywood just wrapped its second season. “We can’t get rid of him, and you know what? I don’t want to,” Travers says. “I’m in this rare position here where I’m saying there’s a bad movie out there called Ride Along. It’s not very funny except when Kevin Hart is on-screen. Is that enough? You decide.”