Forget going soft -- Ride Along proves Ice Cube's got bigger image problems than kiddie movies and Coors Light commercials. It's not his Hollywood career that makes him a sellout. It's not even that the brave, bigmouthed teen who co-wrote "Fuck tha Police" grew up to play a cop. It's that the rapper and activist who recorded 1992's The Predator, a furious album about the Rodney King attack, is now embracing exactly the kind of violent, entitled, civil-rights-crushing cop he once demonized. Director Tim Story and his four-man screenwriting team think the height of hilarity is Ice Cube smacking around civilians. Like Observe and Report, this ego-tripping law enforcer is cynicism disguised as comedy. The only difference is Seth Rogen knew his character was an asshole meathead. Cube is convinced he's the hero. I bet kids who've been stopped and frisked will crack up when he threatens to falsely accuse a boy of assaulting a police officer. Maybe they'll double over during the scene where he shrugs off the shooting of an unarmed man. You know who wouldn't smile at that? Young Ice Cube. For what it's worth, his Atlanta detective has two problems, and a conscience about ignoring the rules of engagement ain't one. First, the force is sick of him pursuing an unknown mastermind named Omar, and second, his sister (Tika Sumpter) is engaged to marry a 5-foot-2 high school security guard (Kevin Hart) who Cube grumbles is "about a chromosome away from being a midget." When Hart convinces his brother-in-law-to-be to let him tag along for a day, Ride Along shifts into cruise control as just another cop comedy. But here, the joke's on us.