Hart plays Ben, a high school security guard that aspires to be a cop and to propose to his girlfriend Angela. When he gets accepted into the police academy, he tells Angela's disapproving brother James (Cube), and he decides to take Ben on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta to mess with him and break his spirit, all while searching for a notorious gangster.
A sequel, Ride Along 2, was released on January 15, 2016, with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reprising their roles as James and Ben. Another sequel is now in production.
- A.K.A.-47: FAMAS assault rifles serve as the "Serbian submachine guns" that are the apparent focus of Omar's gun deal at the warehouse.
- Big Bad:
- Omar, Atlanta's most feared and mysterious gangster (which is really saying something).
- Antonio Pope in the sequel.
- Big Brother Instinct: James, big time.
- Blown Across the Room: Ben does this to himself by not bracing before firing a shotgun.
- Chekhov's Gag: Ben getting blown out by Runflat's little brother gives another clue for James and his Omar case.
- Chekhov's Gun: A literal gun from the hostage situation — Ben takes one of the bad guys' guns from the scene and later uses it while helping James interrogate a different criminal. There's also his headset still picking up conversations when he's not wearing it.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Ben's gaming buddies turn out to be very useful when they inform him and James that Omar is holding Angela hostage at his home.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ben's knowledge of guns from playing his video game.
- Confronting Your Imposter: Ben pretends to be the crime lord Omar to get out of a situation with his gang, and it works until the real Omar shows up.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Over the course of the film, geeky police hopeful Ben's gaming skills gradually prove to be more of an asset than a liability, culminating in the final fight where he literally uses moves/tactics from multiplayer shooters (like scavenging unspent ammo and Grenade Hot Potato) to great effect.
- Deadpan Snarker: James.James: Oh, look, it's Sir Scream-A-Lot.
- Delayed Reaction: Ben when he realizes he got shot in the leg... long after the shootout happens. Granted, the adrenaline after the shootout at Omar's base would've definitely numbed the pain.
- Dirty Cop: Turns out Omar's got some guys on the inside.
- The Dreaded: Omar, a Bad Boss who is basically The Ghost to everyone in the film, even his own henchmen. Until the end.
- Every Car Is a Pinto:(a beam falls in the back of James' car)
James: My car!
Ben: It's probably still drivable 'cause it happened in the back—
(the car explodes)
Ben: ...you can't drive it now.
- Faux Affably Evil: Omar comes off as this when offering James a spot in his crew.
- Gangsta Style: Downplayed; James only does this at the firing range, for two out of the seven or so shots he took, and still manages to hit the target with both such shots. In the head, at that. Ben, on the other hand...
- Girls with Moustaches: Ben mistakes a biker's wife for a man because of her beard, which only worsens his situation.
- Good Is Not Nice: James can come across as being rough around the edges, but he's still one of the good guys.
- Grenade Hot Potato: One of the skills Ben picked up from his game. Omar immediately notes this and tells everyone to stop throwing grenades, only for Santiago to tell him he can't stop because "I've already pulled the pins!"
- Hero Insurance: Ben faces no consequences for accidentally shooting someone while interrogating them.
- I Have Your Wife: Omar takes Angela hostage.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Given the "skill" Ben showed at the firing range, it's no surprise that when he pulls a gun on a suspect to try and help James interrogate him, he starts wildly waving it all around and ends up accidentally shooting said suspect in the shoulder.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Ben knows a lot about weapons, enough that he can identify different firearms just by hearing their reports, from his video game. Actually using them, however, is a different story. Until the shootout in the warehouse, where he does put other, non-shooting skills from the game to good use assisting James, such as scavenging ammo and throwing back live grenades.
- Imagine Spot: James has one where he immediately shoots Ben without a word after Ben tells him of his plans to propose to Angela.
- Impersonation Gambit: To save James from Omar's thugs, Ben decides to go in and masquerade as Omar himself since nobody before that moment has actually seen Omar before. Surprisingly, it works. That is, until the real Omar shows up.
- Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Ben predicts a student about to cut class will end up going through a series of events, ending with him living on the streets with no legs.
- Manchild: Ben.
- Masquerading As the Unseen: Ben pretends to be the mysterious crime lord Omar in an attempt to rescue James. It works until the real Omar shows up.
- The Mole: Miggs and Santiago turn out to be working for Omar.
- Motor Mouth: The first thing Ben does in almost all his situations is talk his way out of them.
- Ms. Fanservice: Angela is frequently quite scantily clad and filmed with a lot of Male Gaze.
- The Napoleon: A signature of Hart's comedy, it shows up here, too.
- Pac Man Fever: Even though it's a fictional video game, Ben and Angela seem to be using their Xbox 360 controllers in a more spastic manner.
- Product Placement: Though it's never actually given focus, Ben and Angela have a Mass Effect 3 poster in their apartment.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Ben's improper usage of his gun when interrogating J with James leads to him accidentally shooting J in the shoulder.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ben's red to James' blue.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Ben thinks so... at first.
- Shout-Out: At one point toward the end of the film, James says "Today was a good day." That's the name of one of Ice Cube's (who plays James) most famous songs.
- Television Geography: State Farm Arena, home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, doubles as the fictional Highlands High School. What makes this more egregious: another scene has James showing up at the CNN Center, which abuts State Farm Arena.
- Title Drop: "I'ma take you on a ride along."
- Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Ben's game is basically Call of Duty with Soldier of Fortune-style dismemberments.
- Villain Opening Scene: The sequel opens with Antonio Pope holding a party on his yacht and his hacker A.J. discovering that Pope's money had been stolen. Pope accuses Griffin of stealing his money and has him killed in his apartment.