When you break it down to the most essential elements, a good comedy is almost impossible without a good cast on its shoulders. Yes, the two films at hand will probably prove to be nothing more than inconsequential ways to pass 90-100 minutes, but let’s not be so foolish as to underestimate choices being made here relative to its potential outcome. They’re good picks, too!

First up, Variety reports that Jay Pharoah (Saturday Night Live), Bryan Callen (Warrior, The Hangover Part II), and Tika Sumpter (Sparkle, Think Like a Man) have been placed into Ride Along, making them the co-stars of Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, and John Leguizamo. Seeing as Tim Story‘s film centers on an average guy (Hart) trying trying to impress his future brother-in-law, a cop (Cube), the three figure into this story — one that’s earned comparisons to Training Day — in a relatively unsurprising fashion.

Pharoah will be seen as an informant to the police; Callen is a partner to Leguizamo, both of whom are undercover cops; and Sumpter, reteaming with her Think Like a Man co-star and director, is the protagonist’s fiancée. All three should add a nice little something to the balance of Ride Along — particularly the SNL star, who’s proven himself in some big ways over the past couple of years — giving me some more confidence as the picture moves closer to shooting.

Ride Along has been scheduled to open on January 17th, 2014.

Another bit of comedic growth — also involving a co-star in Think Like a Man, weirdly — comes from Deadline, who tell us Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old Virgin) is one of the few under-60 actors to be set for Last Vegas. The Jon Turteltaub comedy has already found starring roles for Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline as four friends who take a bad trip to Sin City and get into a few pratfalls along the way, all as we laugh at their geriatric struggles.

Malco‘s role sounds rather small, being Lonnie, a concierge at the quartet’s hotel. Funny is funny, though, and this is an actor who’s managed to show an ability for comedic performances — even when everything around him fails. Plus, when you mix him in with supporting players like Mary Steenburgen and Jerry Ferrara, he should make for another reliable member of what’s managed to become a shockingly good comedic ensemble.

Last Vegas is expected to open on December 20th, 2013.

Do you see either film being greatly affected by these additions?

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