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" I’d do it all wrong. You kill him, I’ll watch. "
— Nigel Terry, The Lion in Winter

MRQE Top Critic

The Peanut Butter Falcon

It's the movie's heart which ultimately makes Peanut Butter Falcon take flight. —Matt Anderson (review...)

The Peanut Butter Falcon

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A sequel to the 2014 hit, Ride Along 2 arrives at a time when Oscar nominated movies are still clogging theaters, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to keep the turnstiles spinning. It’s as if the movies haven’t yet recovered from last year’s hangover.

So it’s hardly surprising that Ride Along 2 reflects Hollywood’s unstoppable tendency to re-wrap ingredients that led to previous success. This second helping does little more than add a bit of Miami glitz to a formula that wasn’t especially inspired to begin with.

Hart rides along with Cube
Hart rides along with Cube

As fans of the series already know, Kevin Hart’s Ben Barber is a bumbling dope. Ben, a wannabe cop in the first movie, now has a job as a uniformed police officer in Atlanta. He’s also poised to marry Angela (Tika Sumpter), a woman whose brother James (Ice Cube) is a hard-boiled Atlanta detective.

You know the drill. Ben does dumb things; Ice Cube’s James tells Ben that he has done dumb things. Hart revs his comic engine; Ice Cube scowls.

An especially lame story finds James traveling to Miami to help find a hacker (Ken Jeong). Eager to prove his worth, Ben wants to tag along. A reluctant James agrees, hoping once and for all to prove that Ben hasn’t got the right stuff to be a detective.

Showing about as many facial expressions as the frozen-faced Ice Cube, a stiff Olivia Munn portrays a Miami detective who rounds out the law enforcement side of the equation.

Benjamin Bratt plays a less-than-frightening drug lord who corrupts public officials. He, too, is after Jeong’s character.

Whether you find Ride Along 2 to be laugh-packed depends on how funny you find Hart. He’s energetic, and likable enough, but there’s not enough fresh humor in Ride Along 2 to compensate for the numbing amount of gunplay or a particularly gross scene in which Ben is forced to pick hair-covered nachos out of a trashcan and eat them.

Director Tim Story, who made the first movie, as well as the much better Ice Cube comedy, Barbershop, makes Ride Along 2 seem less ragged than it actually is by sprinkling it with female bodies and high-gloss shots of Miami.

Look, I’ve got nothing against dumb comedies and obviously, Hollywood doesn’t either, but even dumb comedies need more by way of novelty than Ride Along 2 manages to muster.