It may not have been a wildly original (or hilarious) film, but Ride Along did well pairing up Ice Cube’s surly attitude with Kevin Hart’s rapid-fire delivery. Their take on a buddy cop movie had a welcome wrinkle to the formula: Ben (Hart) wasn’t a cop at all, but rather a wannabe who James (Cube) chooses to indulge a bit just to make him look bad, with the hope that James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter) won’t marry Ben.
Rather than build on the first film’s conclusion, Ride Along 2 opts to build on the dynamic between James and Ben. Ben’s now a member of the Atlanta Police Department, but he’s craving action, since James usually opts to keep Ben in the car (for reasons that are painfully obvious as the film goes along). When James gets information that points him to Miami, Ben begs to join him. While James initially refuses, he realizes something: Ben marries his sister in a week, which gives him a small amount of time to get Ben off the force (or more). Which means…it’s time for a ride-along.
There are a handful of gut-busting laughs the film earns, including a scene where Ben and James play good cop/bad cop with a lead about her boyfriend’s cellphone history, and a few nods to Ben’s gamer skills becoming quite literal. The film also does well in a stakeout scene, where Ben and A.J. (Ken Jeong), the hacker who pulled them to Miami, ad lib about random nonsense. James, meanwhile, gets someone who understands his frustration with Ben in the form of Maya (Olivia Munn), a Miami detective.
A handful of funny scenes and at least one good cast addition (not Jeong, for the record), though, don’t make for a good film, or even one on par with its predecessor. Ride Along 2 is agreeable enough as a weekend diversion, but it doesn’t make the most of the chemistry that exists between its two leads. In other words, it’s just like most sequels to surprisingly successful comedies.