In just about every one of Kevin Hart's scenes in Ride Along, there's a joke that is just aching to find its way out of the diminutive, rascally comic actor. Hart is a small-scale physical comedian — of the same ilk as Jack Black — who puts nuclear-degree energy into his facial contortions, anatomical outbursts, and the delivery of every gag in general. If only he had material that was crafted with the same energy.
Unfortunately, nothing else about Ride Along seems at all "hard at work." Not the script, which pads a lifeless story with lazy comedy, and certainly not his screen partner Ice Cube, whose only stage direction seems to be "frown, and be taller than Kevin Hart." So lifeless is Ice Cube that even his machismo-obsessed straight man bit doesn't really work. Instead of the virile and intimidating "bad cop," he comes off as a disapproving middle aged dad without much to show for his own life.
But the script pairs the wily, overzealous high school security guard and video game junkie Ben (Hart) with no-nonsense lawman James (Ice Cube) on the titular ride along, with the scrappy cop-wannabe hoping to prove to the force veteran that he's good enough to marry the latter's younger sister. In earnest, he's not. Ben never puts any respectable effort into learning the tools of the trade, insisting on employing his amateur style and controlling the radio despite his proclamations that he wants, and deserves, James' trust. And James is no saint either — he's irresponsible on crime scenes, violent with perps, and disgruntled to the point of being unable to work with anybody else on the force. These are not good police officers... of course, you'll say, this is a comedy. But where are the laughs, then?
They're not absent entirely, you just have to look for them. In a movie so focused with big, broad humor, it's the smaller comedy that actually lands best. Hart's background mutterings and fumblings, his emoticon-laden texts to girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter, whose only stage direction seems to be "smile, and never wear a full outfit of clothing"), and a bizarre repetition of the word "weird" from supporting player John Leguizamo. All good for unexpected chuckles, while jokes like Hart facing off with a pre-teen or being blown backwards into a brick wall after firing a large gun are all lazy, familiar, and flat.
Structurally, the script is a mess. Ride Along spends far too much time on set up — we get it, Hart and his soon-to-be-brother-in-law Ice Cube don't get along — and far too much time on wrap-up — there's a gigantic, dramatic warehouse shootout that, in any other movie, would be the climax, but there's plenty more to go after that — without any cohesive middle to make the movie feel like... a movie.
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Hart, who leaps at every comic opportunity like a kangaroo (wallaby would be more appropriate), is suited just right for a buddy cop comedy, but he needs something fresh with which to work — a real character, an interesting story, actually funny jokes. Even just one of these would be fine!
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Summer Series: ABC's saucy new drama, Mistresses, finally has a premiere date. The nighttime soap, starring Alyssa Milano, Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes, and Jes Macallan as a group of friends trying to navigate the dating world and maintain worthwhile relationships, will debut Monday, May 27 at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC. Monday nights will be relationship-centric on the network this summer, as The Bachelorette will also premiere in May. The annual dating reality competition will premiere at 9 PM ET/PT on the 20th before moving to its regular 8 PM time slot the following week. Meanwhile, Scott Foley announced on Twitter that his seven-episode Fox comedy, The Goodwin Games, will debut Monday, May 20 at 8:30 p.m. The comedy, about dysfunctional siblings competing to earn their father's fortune, was originally slated for midseason. [ABC/Twitter]
Touched By an Angel...of Death: Ring the death knell for Touch, because all signs point to cancellation for the struggling Fox drama now that star Kiefer Sutherland has been offered another show. The actor has reportedly been offered the lead in NBC's drama The Black List, about the world's most wanted criminal who suddenly decides to turn himself in, along with everyone he's ever worked with. The offer is in second position to Touch, with means Sutherland is contractually obligated to keep his old job if the drama is renewed for a third season, but this new offer combined with Touch's less-than-stellar Friday night ratings likely mean it won't be back. But anything's possible! [Entertainment Weekly]
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Boomerang: Aussie Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) is heading back to TV. He's reportedly firming up a deal to star as Felicity Huffman's husband in Fox's drama pilot Boomerang, about a family of government assassins. He'll play the ex-CIA boss of the family business, which also includes his wife and two grown sons. [Deadline]
Sonuva: Donal Logue is officially returning to FX's Sons of Anarchy for Season 6 as a former U.S. Marshal with a grudge against the SAMCRO gang. Creator Kurt Sutter said Logue was contracted for at least 10 episodes, and only appeared in three of those during Season 5. [Zap2it]
Robocop: Michael Ealy has landed the lead in the new Bad Robot/J.H. Wyman scifi pilot about Los Angeles policemen and their robot partners (seriously). Set in the near future, the show is described as an "action-packed buddy cop show where all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like android." Ealy will play the robot half of the main partnership, Dorian, "who understands humanity more than" his partner, the yet-to-be-cast John Kennex. [Deadline]
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Gone Campin': USA has greenlit a brand new reality series called Summer Camp. The show sounds sort of like a fantasy camp for...camp, wherein 16 adults go back to a lakeside retreat and compete against each other in crazy competitions inspired by traditional camp games. At the end of the eight episodes, they'll face off in an Olympic-style "Campathalon." The new series will air in the summer, which is coincidentally (or completely logically) when NBC is premiering its new summer-camp-set drama, Camp. [Deadline]
Narc: HBO has added The Hurt Locker and Flight actor Brian Geraghty to the cast of Boardwalk Empire for Season 4. He'll play a prohibition agent "with ulterior motives" assigned to Atlantic City. [Deadline]
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On Emmy night the only place filled with more glittery winged statuettes than the trophy room at the ceremony was HBO’s annual after party, thanks to a series of sweeping victories – 26 in all – by the pay cable network’s programming, including the miniseies John Adams, the telepic Recount, the drama In Treatment and the comedy Entourage.
West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center served as the epicenter for HBO’s bash, converted into a swanky, sprawling blue-green Brazillian-themed party palace as a sea of stretch limos deposited an increasingly starry contingent of Emmy-toting actors, writers, directors and producers, as well a dozens of famous faces from film and television.
Appropriately for a glitzy blowout filled with free-flowing champagne and low-cut gowns, the gang from Entourage led the party pack: Adrian Grenier greeted In Treatment star Gabriel Byrne at the door and congratulated him on his Emmy victory effusively, along with Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara huddled up with the show’s upcoming guest star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the only member of The Sopranos family on hand; Kevin Connelly belied up to the bar alongside Stacy Keibler; and dapper Jeremy Piven worked the room with a stogie in one hand and an Emmy in the other before DJ RAVIDRUMS invited him to the platform high above the dance floor to play the drums for an appreciative crowd of stars that included the show’s sexiest guests, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Malin Akerman and Carla Gugino who swayed to the Piv’s beat.
The octogenarian “Mr. Warmth” himself, Don Rickles, held court at a table by the door alongside his shiny Emmy, circled by a crowd filled with HBO’s comedy superstars Larry David, Bill Maher, Cynthia Nixon, Jeff Garlin and Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement and Brett McKenzie. Baby mama Amy Poehler parked her pregnant frame in a nook near the outdoor patio overlooking a specially created candlelit “pond” while hubby Will Arnett fetched food for her.
John Adams executive producer Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson cruised in with the latest addition to his already impressive trophy mantle, and Hanks told Hollywood.com that even with his abundance of awards each honor had special significance to him. Looking at each honor, “you go back and remember all of the people that were working on it with you,” Hanks said.
The Hanks fam slipped out early, just missing the miniseries’ Emmy-winning stars Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, and as the night wore on the celebrity wattage only increased, with appearances by Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Michael C Hall, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Tina Fey, Denis Leary, Mary-Louise Parker, John Krasinski, Hayden Panettiere, Sally Field and Lost-ies Daniel Dae Kim, Harold Perrineau, Jr. and Michael Emerson.
The party raged on into the wee hours – even Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa took a turn on the drums! – and even after spending hours squeezed into her Christian Laboutin shoes all day, Kate Walsh danced the night away as long as she could. “I’ve gotta work tomorrow,” she lamented, “but not too early.”
Jurassic Park III's William H. Macy, to Hollywood.com, on how he and his wife, actress Felicity Huffman, differ in styles when it comes to bringing up their daughter Sophia, who will be 1 years old on Aug. 1:
"I'm not as cool as my wife is. She'll take a bath with Sophia, and Sophia will poop in the tub. It happened to me once, boy, and I'm telling you, I was out of that water in a nanosecond. Flic sits there going, 'Could you get
me a towel?' and I’m going, 'Get out! Get out!' ... [Sophia] thinks I'm funny, so that's the best thing I take from it so far. She thinks I'm hysterical."