In the new movie “Ride Along,” Ice Cube plays a hardnosed police officer who tests the mettle of his could-be brother-in-law (Kevin Hart) before giving their engagement his blessing, but will the former gangsta rapper put his teenage daughter’s future suitors through similar scrutiny?
“Only if I’m suspicious of them. If I get that little suspicion, that intuition, then I’m gonna run ’em through the ringer,” Cube told me before an early Philadelphia screening of the Universal comedy. “But if I can find out that they’re a nice guy, nice dude, treat my daughter right, they ain’t got no problems out of me.”
While teenage kids make for formidable opponents, they likely pale in comparison to fast-talking and quick witted Hart, a successful comedian who is fast becoming a hot commodity on the big screen. Still, Cube told me he wasn’t afraid to put his trademark scowls up against the occasionally improvised wisecracks of the Philly-born funnyman.
“I can deal with Kevin all day. I can deal with two or three Kevins, you know what I mean?” Cube said. “I’ve worked with some of the biggest comedians of all time. None of them could make me crack. Kevin couldn’t make me crack. So, I got my record intact.”
Cube, 44, made his film debut in the 1991 drama “Boyz N the Hood,” but quickly moved on to action-thrillers (“Anaconda”) and comedies (“Friday”) before finding unexpected success in the family film genre with “Are We There Yet?” “Ride Along” marks the first true leading role of Hart’s career, and could usher the 34-year-old onto a long list of odd couple classics.
“When you think about buddy comedies, you think about ‘Lethal Weapon,’ you think about ‘Bad Boys,’ you think about ‘Rush Hour,’ you think about ‘48 Hours,’” Hart explained. “But we had that opportunity to bring a unique feel to something that’s been missing for quite some time. I think me and Cube did a great job of not only doing it, but coming with an approach to it that our generation can say, ‘Wow,’ and now we’ll be talked about it that same group of films.”
“Ride Along” is the first of three new movies Hart has slated for release in 2014, including “About Last Night” and “Think Like a Man Too.” And considering his rising star status, the comic said he has no interest in exploring other occupations in a real-life ride along.
“You know what, man? I wouldn’t wanna do anything else,” he said. “It’s very hard to picture doing something else when you love what you do.”
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