New in Theaters: 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,' 'Ride Along,' 'The Nut Job,' 'Devil's Due'

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

This weekend offers quite the variety of films—an action-thriller that jumpstarts a long-dormant franchise, a campy cop buddy comedy, a zany animated family film, and a found-footage horror flick. Pretty much none of it was well-received, but if you’re not picky, there’s something for everybody out in theaters this weekend.

First, we have the first Tom Clancy film we’ve seen in a few years, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. He returns to the dashing subject of many of his books and films, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), in his early formative (and traumatic) years as he survives a tour in Afghanistan, becomes a CIA analyst under his mentor, William Harper (Kevin Costner), finds love in the form of Cathy Muller (Keira Knightly), uncovers a Russian plot to topple the United States, and becomes a spy to foil said dastardly plot.

Rotten Tomatoes was fairly accepting of the film, rating it at 63%. It doesn’t break new ground (quite the opposite, since it’s still the Russians trying to do us in for some reason), but it’s still a pretty convincing spy flick, especially for fans geeking out over Clancy’s return to the Jack Ryan saga. The Box Office Guru predicts a gross of $24 million for the film this weekend.

Next is the comedy collaboration of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, Ride Along. Hart plays Ben, a high school security guard who is dating Angela Payton (Tika Sumpter), the sister of Ice Cube’s hard-boiled veteran cop, James. To prove he’s worthy of marrying Angela, Ben has to endure a ride-along with James, who has set up a night of harrowing action to scare him off; however, the night gets out of hand as they come face-to-face with the city’s worst criminals.

The folks at Rotten Tomatoes weren’t quite so impressed by this film, as it received only 17%. The Kevin Hart-Ice Cube duo manages a few laughs in spite of the lazy screenwriting, but they cannot save a film that was given so little thought prior to being released. It may debut to around $26 million this weekend.

Also opening today is the first animated film to make its way into theaters since Frozen stormed the box office, The Nut Job. The film follows a scheming squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) who, working with a horde of furry friends (voiced by Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, Stephen Lang, and Maya Rudolph, to name a few) seeks to pull off a grand nut heist to feed the town’s small mammal population throughout winter.

The Tomatometer ratings spiral ever lower, with this film earning only 13%. The characters are either indistinguishable or unlikeable (or even both), the plot and jokes are stale, and the film runs too long, even at only 86 minutes. Still, without any real blockbuster competition, the film may pull in as much as $14 million this weekend.

Finally, we have something darker than the other three releases put together: more found-footage horror, in the form of Devil’s Due. After a bizarre honeymoon, a newlywed couple are surprised by an early pregnancy. As the wife’s behavior progresses from odd to bizarre to dangerous, they realize they are dealing with something a good deal darker and more sinister than an unexpected child.

This film faired a little better than most of its companion releases on the Tomatometer, but not by much, rating at only 22%. It suffers from much the same problem as the rest of this weekend’s releases: It does nothing new, and its plot isn’t convincing enough to present a passable story despite its trite thematic elements. It may make around $11 million over the weekend.

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