Ice Cube and Kevin Hart have such a devoted fan base that they can count on them to buy a ticket to anything they do, and that is pretty much what they have done here in a generic buddy cop movie that wears out its welcome quickly but keeps on slogging through every possible action comedy cliché. Is there an angry and frustrated police chief? Check. Are there two opposite kind of guys who squabble all the time but develop a grudging respect for one another? And one is a serious, taciturn loner and the other is a volatile, voluble guy with impulse control problems? Check. Is there a mysterious crime kingpin no one has seen who will turn out to be a surprise guest star but not really a surprise because the name was in the opening credits? Check. Will a trusted person turn out not to be trustworthy, but that won’t be much of a surprise either? Check check check check check. Is this one of those movies where no one told the star it should have been better because the star is also the producer? I don’t need to add a “check” there, do I?
Ice Cube plays James, a tough cop who has been after the mysterious Omar for years. He gets little support from his boss (Bruce McGill), who is losing patience with the mayhem James has created with little to show for it. Kevin Hart plays Ben, a high school security guard, who is dating James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). Ben hopes to be accepted by the police academy so he can earn James’ respect and marry Angela. But James finds it hard to respect anyone, especially Ben. They agree to a test. James will allow Ben to ride along with him for one day. If he can prove himself to be reliable, trustworthy, and brave, James will approve of Ben’s relationship with Angela.
Will James do everything he can to scare Ben away? What do you think? Will any of it make any sense? Not really. Will they try to get laughs out of pointless destruction and reckless shooting injuries? Yep. How about from being doped up on morphine? Sure, why not?
Their journey will take them to a confrontation with bikers, a shooting gallery, a completely pointless encounter with a guy who is trashing a grocery store, taking his clothes off, and pouring honey on his chest, and, of course, as we continue to check off every ingredient from the generic cop movie recipe, the strip club, PG-13 version. The ingredient it misses, though is characters we care about. The movie relies much too heavily on our interest in Ice Cube and Kevin Hart and is too lazy to make us interested in James or Ben. It is hard to want to see James develop respect for Ben when Ben is annoying, cowardly, and arrogant. It is hard to want to see Ben learn anything from James when James goes to such lengths to mess with him. Most of all, it is hard to sit through this movie when we know that both men can do better.
Parents should know that this film includes frequent law-enforcement peril and violence with many guns, chases, and explosions, characters injured and killed, some violence intended to be humorous, use of morphine portrayed as comic, strong language (s-word, b-word, n-word), skimpy clothes, strip club (no nudity), very crude humor, explicit sexual references and non-explicit situation
Family discussion: How did James’ suspicious nature help him in his job? How did it impair his judgment? How would you ask Ben to prove himself?
If you like this, try: the “Lethal Weapon” movies and “The Other Guys”