Since I begrudgingly decided to see these two films and I would prefer to get to preparing for my X-Files week (which I’m very excited for), I’ve shortened my reviews for Ride Along 2 and Norm of the North and included them both below:
Ride Along 2
Rookie police officer Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) aspires to become a detective like his future brother-in-law James Payton (Ice Cube). James then reluctantly takes Ben to Miami to follow up on a lead that’s connected to a drug ring. The case brings them to a homicide detective, Maya Cruz (Olivia Munn), and a computer hacker, A.J. (Ken Jeong), who reveals evidence that implicates a respected businessman. It’s now up to James and Ben to prove that charismatic executive Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt) is actually a violent crime lord who rules southern Florida’s drug trade.
I will admit that I’ve never seen the first but I’m still pretty sure that I know what it’s about from the trailers I’ve seen and I’m also sure that almost everything it had was in the trailers. I’m pretty confident about this but it just seemed like it was Kevin Hart’s character being loud, ridiculous, and probably annoying and Ice Cube’s character giving him a series of stern looks, probably in disapproval of Kevin Hart’s character. They both start off as opposites and over time and/or because of some event, they become closer and Ice Cube’s character doesn’t mind or gets used to Kevin Hart’s character. I know that’s a general synopsis and this sequel is pretty much the same thing, more or less. James (Ice Cube) and Ben (Hart) are on a case which leads them to Miami where they run into detective Maya Cruz (Munn) and a hacker A.J. (Jeong) where they all must contend with crime lord Antonio Pope (Bratt). This film is an action comedy which was okay with the action and which I did not find very funny. Whether or not you find this funny hinges on whether or not you are a fan of Kevin Hart. I like his standup comedy but I have never liked him as an actor because I’ve always found his roles to be very similar, loud and annoying. Because of this, I found him more annoying than funny which meant I didn’t find this film funny. The comedy here is Ben (Hart) doing something stupid and James (Ice Cube) reacting in a usually stern, disapproving way. This got very repetitive but I do admit to laughing a few times but the jokes here were mostly misses. The action here was okay with some okay shooting and explosions but didn’t do too much for me. The story itself was very simple yet predictable. The acting was okay (Hart excluded) but was underwhelming as it could have been much funnier than it was if the writing was better. Overall, this film could have been better but instead ended up being just okay and forgettable.
Norm of the North
Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm (Rob Schneider) and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.
An outcast in his own group overcomes a series of obstacles, proves himself to them, and ends up in a better position than where he started. A “fish out of water” type adapts to a new environment with the help of one or multiple people and then learns an important lesson about themselves. An animal with the help of a team of other cute animals come together against a common enemy. Seen this before? There’s nothing more brought to the table here. To be more specific, in order to protect his Arctic homeland from an evil corporation wanting to build homes on his homeland, a polar bear named Norm (Schneider) and his three lemming friends head to New York City to try to stop their president Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong). If you didn’t notice my into, this story isn’t the most original for an animated children’s film as it is full of cliches and just rips off ideas from other, more popular animated children’s films. It was definitely easy to point out things that I’ve seen in other films. Children will probably be entertained because they will not notice certain things since they will be too distracted by the characters and the lame, cheesy humour but I think older people will be smart enough to notice this too. The children in the theatre I was in were laughing at the slapstick and the bodily humour but I simply wasn’t because I think I’m better than that. There were also many moments where the film did not make sense to me which I found to be annoying. Again, children will probably not notice these but I can’t help it. I also found that the plot started to get a little confusing halfway through the film as the purpose of the film got lost as it started being less about saving the Arctic and more about a pointless subplot about a girl wanting to get into a prestigious school and cheesy, almost cringe-worthy parading of Norm and the lemmings. The voice acting here was okay but it didn’t really matter to me since I found the story to be lame. Overall, this is just a lazy, forgettable attempt at a new animated children’s franchise.
This is all you really need to know about it anyway: