You do have to hand something to the makers of Ride Along 2. (Something moist that risks passing on a communicable disease, perhaps.) The sequel to the terminally witless original displays scarcely believable levels of decline.
You could make a better feature by repeatedly throwing a camera into a lake.
As is often the case with such things, the sequel is hampered by the earlier film’s last-act dismantlement of its central premise. Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is no longer a hapless security guard. The diminutive fireball is now a rookie cop and, thus, when Detective James Paton (Ice Cube), soon to be Ben’s brother-in-law, brings him along to solve crimes in Miami, we are no longer watching a “ride along”.
They’re just two differently annoying police officers. James does the boringly gruff thing that Ice Cube does when he knows the cheque is already in his account. The inexhaustible Hart works far harder than the material deserves.
Ken Jeong, playing a sex-addicted computer hacker, proves that, contrary to what we hitherto believed, it may be possible to tire of that funny actor.
Nothing sums up the half- assed nature of the project better than the news that, when a rap track using the Oedipal noun plays on the soundtrack, the bit that isn't "mother" is repeatedly bleeped out. Apparently, we can't say that word. Will we get another song? Nah, just bleep it out. Who gives a f**k? It's just Ride Along 2.
Sitting through the film is like babysitting two badly behaved children – one surly and mean, the other sugared-up – whose egoism greatly exceeds their charm.
Still, the film will be the answer to a particularly pointless trivia question. Which film finally knocked Star Wars The Force Awakens – by then the biggest film ever at the domestic box office – from the top of the US charts? You're looking at it. Good luck to you.