I am an unabashed fan of Ice Cube on film.
Not every film he's been in works, but he's got a presence that I enjoy on film, and when he's got someone to play off of, he can be very funny. I think he's just as much a part of what I enjoy about "Friday" as Chris Tucker was, and frankly, I'm surprised he hasn't done more action-comedies over the years. I think "All About The Benjamins" is a perfectly enjoyable film, and I always root for Cube to make something like that.
"Ride Along" has an incredibly simple premise. Ice Cube plays a hard-assed detective, and Kevin Hart plays the guy who is dating his sister. He wants to prove himself to Cube, and Cube takes great delight in inviting the guy on a ride along with him so he can terrify him. When I sat down with Cube and Hart together, it was the first interview of the year, and it seemed like a nice way to shake off the holiday torpor.
Hart, of course, is in the process of becoming omnipresent right now. He is probably the best thing about "Grudge Match," since it seemed like that film's game plan was to stick Alan Arkin and Hart together on the sidelines making jokes at their expense and about everyone else in the movie. He's one of the few guys right now who is releasing stand-up concert films theatrically, something that I miss in general. He is keenly aware of the persona that he has created, and it seems like he and his team are being very shrewd about picking projects.
What I found most interesting in this interview was the unspoken subtext to most of Cube's comments. Keep in mind, this is a guy who has co-starred in comedies with Chris Tucker and Mike Epps, so when he says that Kevin Hart is the funniest person he's worked with or that he's the best comic since Eddie Murphy, that seems sort of pointed and specific to me. Maybe I'm wrong, but Cube seems to be picking sides here and backing Hart. We probably won't be seeing a new "Friday" movie any time soon.
I'll have my review of the movie next week, but for now, here's the "Ride-Along" team talking about how their chemistry worked on-set.
"Ride Along" opens everywhere on January 17, 2014.