In Ride Along, everything goes boom but the story

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Starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. Rated PG.

Original gangsta rapper Ice Cube has one discernible expression throughout Ride Along: a permasnarl paired with a glare that says “comin’ straight outta Compton”. The source of his constant annoyance is Kevin Hart, a five-foot-two ball of comedic energy that bounces off him like a hypercaffeinated Woody Woodpecker.

At first, the odd-couple pairing is mildly amusing in Ride Along, thanks mostly to the shameless antics of Hart. As displayed in this Atlanta-set odd couple/buddy flick, Hart is someone who can still make falling into a bookcase funny. Here, Hart’s Ben is a video-game addict who’s just been accepted into the police academy. He’s eager to impress his badass brother-in-law-to-be, agreeing to join him on a day out policing the mean streets of Atlanta. At first, Cube’s cranky cop just pulls a few pranks, but eventually the duo gets caught up in a real-deal ammo heist.

Hart does the best he can with the material, but the listless plot squanders every outrageous setup; even Hart’s confrontation with a biker gang fizzles, and just wait until you see how little the movie does when our diminutive rookie has to take down a half-crazed naked man covered in honey. Don’t ask.

Yes, things do go boom—cars, buildings, barbecues—and a surprise actor slums it as the mysterious bad guy, Omar, but those distractions only temporarily make us forget we’re stuck on a ride to nowhere.

Let’s face it: it takes a little more than a motormouth like Hart to drive this car.

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