Police officer Ice Cube is the un-effed kind who uses his badge to do as he pleases, the kind NWA used to dislike quite a bit. He drives through fire in pursuit of criminals. He's very tough. The lieutenant yells at him for breaking all the rules. The lieutenant is very angry. Kevin Hart shows up. He plays video games all the time. He's also Cube's sister's (Tika Sumpter, A Madea Christmas) boyfriend. Cube doesn't like Hart. Thinks he's soft and short. He is both of those things. Hart wants to be a police officer and wants to marry Sumpter. Cube is not happy about this. He takes Hart on a Training Day-style ride for a day designed to terrorize him out of his career and marital plans. Crime happens. Hart uses his previously useless video game expertise to thwart evildoers. You know all of this going in. What you don't know is that at one point -- and I guess here comes a spoiler so stop reading now if you want nobody to rescue you from seeing it -- Cube looks at the camera and says, "I got to say…"
And then you panic.
But you don't panic because this sub-mediocre, Tim Story-directed, 48 Hours wannabe is as terrible and unfunny as it is. And not because Hart -- who's really very funny, for the record, and knows how to work the put-upon little-dude angle, just watch his BET show Real Husbands of Hollywood for proof -- is given nothing at all to do character-wise except shriek and fall down over and over. And not because there's not one single surprise in store. And not because it's so lazy it never paid any mind to the memo that calling transgender-adjacent joke-characters "Thing" is completely uncool. And not because Sumpter, the one woman in the film who isn't a stripper, serves no purpose other than to be taken hostage. And not because the PG-13 rating dictates mass death with no blood and strip clubs where the women wear bras, ridiculously timid, truth-shirking moves that are an insult both to sleazy cinematic sexism and to senseless action-film violence. And not because you know that everyone here can and has done much, much better, with Cube in Story's Barbershop and Hart in Story's Think Like a Man.
You panic, instead, because you know, in the next 1/10th of a second, Ice Cube is going to finish the line with, "… it was a good day" as he all but winks at the camera. And then you die a little more inside as he craps all over his own legacy, trading in his cool for the sake of a throwaway, on-the-nose joke in a film where jokes go to crumble themselves into piles of dust. Are We There Yet? never looked so subversive.