This film doesn’t seem to want to take itself seriously. It has an unlikely premise, an even more unlikely plot and both these non-starters are accompanied by unlikely characters who never rise above the cliché bar. The filmmakers have tagged it as an action/adventure/comedy but, in the event, the action is a mundane game of cops and robbers, the adventure a yawn and the comedy escaped both myself and the other 500 people in the theater. This, I believe, is called a consensus.
Ben (Kevin Hart) is in a serious relationship with Angela (Tika Sumpter). Whenever Angela gets home, Ben is playing video games and he has managed to reach heady success with his efforts. He works as a security guard and his ambitions to become a policeman begin to be realized when he receives a letter from the Police Academy informing him that his application to enroll has been accepted. Ben is thrilled, but Angela’s brother, James (Ice Cube), who is already an APD detective, isn’t impressed. James doesn’t approve of the vertically challenged Ben as a suitor for his sister, and he tells his potential brother-in-law that he will have to prove his worth if he wants to become a member of the family. To this end, James invites Ben to accompany him in his patrol car for a day so James can fairly judge Ben’s abilities. Ben immediately takes up the challenge and the two set out on their journey.
The first of many plot holes presents itself right at the beginning, when Ben receives his letter from the Police Academy. What follows are a series of events that make Ben look like a complete buffoon, and in fact, he does seem to be one, so the audience is left wondering why and how such an idiot got accepted into the Academy in the first place. There is no further reference made to Ben’s future career with the police and it seems this was simply a stepping stone thrown in to launch the story on its wobbly path.
There are a plethora of other issues that jar, but the one that stands out most is the surplus of dialogue. The barrage of words never stops and most of it is spurted by Ben, with James coming a close second. Obviously, memorable movie lines aren’t going to crop up in every film, but that doesn’t mean the audience shouldn’t be given something interesting to listen to. Endless dialogue that has no meaning is tedious to sit through and leaves no opportunity for those precious moments when the audience is left to come to a conclusion of their own.
Despite the constant bombardment of dialogue, this film has zero to say about anything. There is an unlikely connection made between Ben’s actions and a video game, but this hardly sets him up as the hero he’s supposed to be. There is also some on-the-nose verbiage that refers to James being a loner, but there is no comparison made with the togetherness of Angela and Ben, so again, the writers remain mute. The reason for this could be that after producing so many lines, the team of wordsmiths were too exhausted to come to any conclusions of their own so decided to settle for a few moments silence. If only they’d thought of that 100 minutes sooner.
Length of film 100 minutes
P G 13
Distributed by Universal
USA 17th January 2013
UK 7th March, 2014
Ireland 7th March, 2014
Germany 13th March, 2014