By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — If the bad-tempered comedy "Ride Along" (Universal) is anything to go by, some of Atlanta’s finest need anger management classes. A case in point: Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) who’s as irritable as he is tough.
Bearing the brunt of James’ fuming, for no very apparent reason, is Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), the immature aspiring cop who lives with, and wants to marry, James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). To prove to Ben that he lacks the mettle to keep order on the streets — and, presumably, to shame him in Angela’s eyes at the same time — James takes the nervous neophyte along on his daily rounds.
A series of farfetched and less-than-amusing encounters follow during which Ben is bested by various disturbers of the peace. His fortunes reach their nadir when he fails to convince a smart-alecky little boy (Benjamin "Lil P-Nut" Flores Jr.) to divulge the whereabouts of his older brother, a low-level hoodlum James wants to pump for information.
Ben jabbers, James scowls, rinse and repeat.
As the largely pointless proceedings unfurl, an excess of gutter language pushes the PG-13 envelope, making the appropriate audience for director Tim Story’s feature a small one. By the time Laurence Fishburne turns up in the role of a smooth uber-baddie, viewers will be impatient for this ride to end.
The film contains considerable action violence, including gunplay, cohabitation, a couple of uses of profanity, at least one rough term, pervasive crude and much crass language and some sexual humor. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.
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