Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
January 14, 2014
When Ice Cube was younger, he went to a girl’s house hoping to impress her, not her family. Oops.
“It was cool at the door,” says Cube. “I walked in, she went in the back, and her grandmother said, ‘Why don’t you just get the hell out of here?’”
“Look at him!” Cube’s “Ride Along” co-star Kevin Hart says. “I would have told him the same thing!”
While at the time Ice Cube wasn’t yet Ice Cube—says Hart, “He was just a little boy with a Jheri curl”—it’s no secret that families can be protective when it comes to possible suitors. In “Ride Along,” opening Friday, Ben (Hart) must receive James’ (Cube) blessing before proposing to James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter). That means time in James’ cop car and more danger than wannabe officer Ben may be ready to handle.
At the Peninsula Hotel, Hart, 34, and Cube, 44, talked about switching roles, Cube’s hypothetical stand-up career and, yes, grandmas, who Hart says “might be the most intimidating people you can meet at first. Grandmas say what they want. They know they on their way out of here.”
Kevin, have you had your own tough experience with a girlfriend’s grandma?
KH: No, unfortunately I’ve never met a female’s grandmother that I dated. Which actually is a bad thing because it means that I was never good enough to meet [the grandmother]. [Laughs] I’ll always have run-ins with the father. I remember actually I had to impress this girl’s father because he caught me touching his daughter’s butt one time. This is a true story, man. This girl I was seeing, we were talking, I’m over at her house and we’re on the porch. We’re hugging, but my hand is on her butt. He came out there, he was like, “What’s your problem, man? Respect my house.” I was like, “I’m so sorry, sir, I’m so sorry.” I was just trying to kiss his behind forever after that. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to go to the store. Do you want me to bring you anything, sir?” “Go ahead, man, I don’t need nothing from you.”
Do you think women have an easier time getting in with a significant other’s families?
IC: Not necessarily.
KH: Mothers, no.
IC: Mothers and sisters can be vicious, you know what I mean? They can let ‘em have it.
KH: If you come from a family [who loves you], nobody thinks that anybody is good enough for you until you get to a certain age.
Before this movie, how much time had you spent in cop cars?
IC: I mean, you know. Ride from the incident to the station. Not too long.
KH: My rides, they haven’t been happy. I don’t think it’s something that’s in a good train of memory in my life.
IC: And why the seats gotta be so tight on the knees?
KH: Why don’t they take the handcuffs off when they sit us back there? That’s my problem! And there’s no cushion in the seats.
IC: No. [It’s] hard as a rock.
KH: That’s the real problem. What if we write a letter? Let’s write a letter.
IC: I think so, man. At least they can make it a little more comfortable.
I think at least when people watch cop shows, they find it funny that the cops are so physical but always say, “Watch your head.”
KH: Or they got the cops that will just automatically push you. Remember [the cop who] was doing it the other day?
IC: Yeah, trying to push the head while you still trying to talk.
KH: The guy’s trying to still talk and get his last words out, and he just push his head underneath.
Let’s say you guys switched roles for “Ride Along”: Kevin’s playing the tough, silent type.
KH: Which is what it should have been.
Cube is playing the awkward newbie. Who do you think would be more convincing?
KH: It’s a no-brainer, man.
IC: He would be way more convincing.
KH: You doggone right, I would!
IC: I would have a hard time with that role.
KH: Listen, I breathe bad guy. Everything about me says “action.” Everything about me says, “Hey, don’t play no game.”
IC: “Hey, don’t play no game.”
KH: I have a lot of bad guy action lines in my head that are just waiting to come out.
What is it about you that sends that message?
KH: Everything about me!
IC: Hit me with one of those action lines.
KH: One of my action lines? “These streets ain’t gonna clean itself.”
IC: [Laughs] Gimme one more, baby.
KH: “Hey, look me in my eyes because when I make eye contact back, that mean the [bleep] just got real.”
IC: That ain’t a cool one.
KH: You’re crazy!
IC: That ain’t, “Make my day.”
KH: I have so many, man.
IC: [to me] Keep goin’, man.
KH: “At the end of the day, a man ain’t a man unless he walk the walk of a beat.” Get it?
Cube, give me a line that you would have.
IC: “You ain’t gonna like how this movie goin’ end.”
KH: That was good! I want to fight that, but that’s really good!
That was a lot colder.
KH: Dammit! Why didn’t you give me that one to say?! [Laughs] You had that in your back pocket the whole time!
Complete this sentence: Ice Cube is to Kevin Hart as …
IC: Yogi is to Boo-Boo, I guess. [Laughs]
KH: I would say Ice Cube is to Kevin Hart as peanut butter is to jelly.
IC: Yeah. That’s dope.
KH: We stick together.
How do you think it would go if Cube was a stand-up?
KH: Here’s the funny thing: Cube has comedic timing. So if Cube say, “I don’t know how it’d go,” he’s BS’ing. If you gave Cube a script, dialogue, and said, “Hey, here’s what you’re performing; execute this for me.” He can do it. ‘Cause he’s got the timing. All he needs is just the dialogue of what to say. You tell Cube just to get up there himself and give you 10 minutes off the cuff, that could get a little rough.
IC: I got 10 minutes off the cuff.
What would you talk about if you were doing stand-up?
IC: I could talk about the days in NWA, the funny stuff that happened to us on the road. Like the time my homie was bullying my other homie, and I stopped it, but I said, “Y’all got to fight, ‘cause this is enough. Dude, you can’t take this from him!” And got out there and the dude that was getting bullied knocked my man out with one punch.
KH: That’s actually a pretty funny story. These are what we call black funny stories. To you these might come off violent and crazy.
IC: [Or] horror stories. These are funny stories.
KH: Nothing funnier than the guy that talks the most trash—
IC: --getting knocked out with one punch!
I can appreciate that! That’s universal.
IC: And the thing is he was on the ground. He said, “Where he at?” I was like, “No, homie; where you at?” [Laughs]
KH: [Laughs] We’ll laugh at that all day! [Laughs] His whole equilibrium is off! “Where he at?”
IC: [Laughs] He’s lookin’ at the stars!
KH: “You need to get your bearings together, brother.”
In the movie Ben talks a kid out of drinking. Tell me how you would talk a kid out of eating nothing but junk food.
IC: “You gonna be fat! You gonna die of diabetes! They’re gonna cut off your foot! Then they gonna cut off your shin! Then they gonna cut off your leg!”
KH: Oh, God!
IC: “Then they gonna cut off your other foot!”
IC: “Then they cut off your other shin!”
You would say this to a child?
KH: Oh, no!
IC: “And you going to be rolling around and you going to be wheeling around, and then eventually you’re going to keel over.”
KH: Oh, God!
IC: “So stop eating all that junk food.”
KH: This is how the kid listens to that. [makes scared face]
IC: “And all your teeth going to be rotten. They’re all going to fall out. And nobody’s going to like you. Now go in there and get a damn salad.”
KH: My daughter is a candy lover. She went to the dentist and had a cavity, and I was so happy that she had a cavity because the process of getting that cavity filled was so tough for her—“Dad, I don’t like it!”—I said, “Let me tell you something: If you going to eat this candy, you know what you’re going to have? You’re going to have a mouth full of metal. And that’s what you want. And you know what we’re not going to be able to do? Daddy’s not going to be able to take you on no trips no more because all you going to do is go off. Every time we go to the airport, your mouth goin’ go off. You know what they going to think? They’re going to think you’re bringing some illegal activity into the airport.” She said, “But I don’t have no illegal stuff, dad!”
Is that scarier or less scary than being told you’ll lose a limb?
KH: Telling a kid you’ll lose a limb is child abuse. [Laughs]
IC: “Look, your fatass keep eating, you’re going to lose your foot. First you’re going to lose your toe, you’re going to lose three toes, then your foot, they’re going to take your shin, and then your legs!”
KH: [Laughs] “You’re going to get the sugar. You want the sugar?”
IC: You want the sugar? You don’t want the sugar.
KH: “What’s the sugar, daddy?” Diabetes!
KH: We call it “sugar” in our household. You don’t want the sugar. [Laughs]
Kevin, you also have “About Last Night” coming up. How good do you think each of you are as wingmen? Who’s better?
KH: Cube, you would make a good wingman in your heyday. ‘Cause you’re married now. You got years in. I wouldn’t even use you for a wingman. And I’m in a really committed relationship myself. So we’re speaking hypothetically.
KH: Hypothetically, if I were to say, “Cube, I want her right there.”
IC: What would I say?
KH: “Do me a favor and occupy her friend. Hold that down so I can swoop in and talk to her.”
IC: That’s called a “harbor.” You want me to put her in the harbor?
KH: Can you put her in the harbor for me, brother?
IC: I’ll put her in the harbor.
KH: Put her in the harbor.
I don’t think I know that term.
IC: It’s a harbor.
KH It’s a harbor.
IC: You know what you do at the harbor? You just harbor boats. ‘Cause the friends are usually ugly. I’m talking about buffalo gal, go ‘round the outside.
If Cube will perform at Lolla 2014: “You know, it’s all about Lollapalooza getting at us. I’d love to rock it. No problem. You know me: I get down, any crowd, anywhere, any time, any place, any stage. Big stage, little stage, I gets down.”
On the “About Last Night” remake, which moves the movie from Chicago to L.A. and has Hart take over in Jim Belushi’s role: “Chicago, first of all, is a great city. So much history with the city of Chicago. ‘About Last Night’ is a part of that history. So when you want to do great things, you gotta follow a great path. ‘About Last Night’ set a great path, so what we did, we just did a remake of it and we just tried to modernize it. We put the characters in it and we just changed up a little bit. We’re following something that’s already been done, great, we’re following the model and the mold, baby. We’re not changing it for disrespectful purposes. We’re changing it to pay homage to it. See how I cleaned that up? I’m a great talker, man. I’m a great talker.”
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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