Every good buddy comedy needs a straight man.
Kevin Hart is not that person.
In Ride Along 2, the diminutive comedian reprises his role as Ben, an Atlanta security guard who manically attempts to impress his soon-to-be brother-in-law, cop James (Ice Cube).
The chemistry between the two remains the same as in the first Ride Along. Hart is frenetic, naive and annoying; Cube is cool, knowledgeable and mature.
A perfect match. Because despite Hart’s antics, many of which are improvisational, Cube never cracks a smile.
“He doesn’t break,” said Hart, in town for the world premiere at Regal South Beach. “I love the fact that he does such a good job of moving and pushing the plot along. I use that energy to my advantage to play off of.”
Cube was the total pro, on set and off.
“He’s hard on you when the camera’s on; that’s the producer in him,” says Hart of the legendary rapper. “When it’s over, he shows you a lot of love and is like, ‘You are so funny, bro!’ He doesn’t want to mess up your take by laughing and throwing you off.”
Hart is familiar with buddy comedies now — he teamed with Frozen’s Josh Gad in the hilarious Wedding Ringer last year, as well as Will Ferrell in Get Hard, and is set to costar with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the upcoming Central Intelligence.
What’s the secret to an ideal pairing?
“You need that pendulum effect,” says Hart. “The other person has to understand how to be your partner and get you in the position to win. At the end of the day, it’s not about outdoing someone. It’s about understanding when to go high and when to go low, when to step back and when to step forward.”
In the first Ride Along, James wanted nothing to do with Ben; in the sequel, he has no choice since his temporary partner is now a police officer who is marrying his sister. The two men travel to Miami in the movie, out Friday, to track down bad guys.
Of his character’s development, Hart says: “Ben is really upping the ante and trying to perfect his craft. James’ approval means more than anything in the world.”
Filming went on last summer throughout the Magic City, and you better believe it was a little sticky out there.
“Oh, it was hot as hell. Every day,” says Hart. “It made for some uncomfortable situations but just added to the comedy. I just kept taking off my soaking wet shirt and replacing it with another one. At least it got cooler at night, especially near the water.”
The 36-year-old comic, originally from Philadelphia, has no hard feelings.
“To be able to shoot in a city I love so much was amazing. I am pumped for everyone to see it.”
If RA2 does well, we may see a third one.
“I already got another sequel under my belt — Think Like A Man Too. So that means you’re doing something right in your career and making movies people want to see. The first one made over $150 million. If we get good numbers, who knows? Let’s have a conversation. You hope and dream to have a franchise.”