The Ride Along movies are not my cup of tea. That’s the nice way of expressing my opinion of the Ice Cube–Kevin Hart action-comedies that have each done well for the Universal, even if this year’s Ride Along 2 came in with some $30 million less than the original. Both performers have been tremendously effective in other films: Hart is very funny in Central Intelligence and had great small roles in Top Five and The Five-Year Engagement, and the rapper has proven to be a crucial character actor in films like Three Kings, Rampart, Boyz n tha Hood, and, most importantly, The Glass Shield. When paired together under director Tim Story, however, they seem to cancel each other’s talents out and making the Ride Along films about as funny as a trip to the local Lilac Festival.
All logic points to Ride Along having made its money and being over as a theatrical franchise. The not-so-great reasoning of Hollywood, however, goes by the numbers almost exclusively. The first two movies each made over $100 million overall and cost relatively small amounts to make, which means it would take a genuine, hand-of-god miracle for a sequel not to be at least considered. So, it should come as no surprise that Variety reported late last night that Ride Along 3 is currently in development over at Universal with Hart, Cube, Story, and writing duo Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi all returning for the third outing. There’s no word on what the plot might revolve around or who else might be returning from the cast or crew, but that’s not what really matters in these cases.
The draw of Ride Along is the salty, cynical, and out-of-touch older cop butting heads with the younger, faster, and smarter cop that lacks in control, experience, and confidence. That’s the joke and nearly every single gag made in those films is rooted in that dynamic, or some secondary sitcom-friendly guffaw about women or bosses or neighbors, etc. If these two actors were let out of the box a bit, there’s certainly plenty of laughs to be had, but Ride Along reeks of investment-over-invention thinking and I’m pessimistic about Ride Along 3 changing that.