So I watched Central Intelligence…
I’ve been excited to see this movie ever since I read that the two leads would be collaborating with one another. I’ve been a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson for eons now and I love the trajectory his acting career is currently on. Kevin Hart is also a delight to watch and I had high hopes for the two of them as a comedic pair.
Okay, basic plot: Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is a man who is feeling unfulfilled with his life. Calvin was the most popular kid in his high school and his future looked full of possibility but his current life as an accountant is a raging disappointment. His impending high school reunion is just a further reminder of this and Calvin is adamant about not going. Days before the reunion, Calvin receives a Facebook message from a mysterious character called Bob Stone. Bob Stone is actually Robbie Wheirdicht (Dwayne Johnson) – a kid who Calvin went to school with. Robbie worships Calvin because he was the only person in high school who made an effort to be nice to him. When Robbie asks Calvin for some help looking over some financial statements; Calvin is happy to help but unbeknownst to Calvin, Robbie is actually a CIA agent and Calvin has now become involved in the world of international espionage.
In the months following up to this film’s release both Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson flooded social media with various videos and photos regarding the film’s shooting. They would often take shots at each other and it was abundantly clear that the two had great chemistry off the camera. That chemistry also made its way on the camera and formed this film’s best asset. Johnson and Hart are absolute magic on screen together. There’s a great sense of friendship and camaraderie between the pair and this elevates every joke in the movie. You can tell the two are having a great time and this encourages you to join along in the laughs.
Dwayne Johnson is box office gold at the moment and while his physique and action-star charisma earn plenty of discussion, I think his comedic chops are often underrated. In this film he plays a character very unlike himself – awkward and not very cool. Johnson nails the hilarity of the arrested-pubescence of Robbie Wheirdicht to perfection and is the comedic standout in the film. There are also plenty of scenes of him kicking ass and we all know how skilled he is at that. I like Kevin Hart, I think he’s a manic ball of comedic energy and he’s often a great watch. This movie is no different but I’d like to see Kevin Hart expand and break new ground. He’s always doing the same thing and while this works, it can get a bit tedious – especially when he doesn’t have a brilliant script to work with.
This film’s script is funny and full of action but it’s far from brilliant. I had fun watching this movie but I felt the film never moved into a higher gear or pushed itself to be more than it is. There are several moments when the film falls back and relies on the talents of its two leads to drive it home instead of rising to the occasion and giving Johnson and Hart something truly memorable to present to its audience. Director – Rawson Marshall Thurber (who directed 2013’s hilarious We’re The Millers) fails to create a steady-paced comedy which builds to a satisfying climax. By the time its conclusion comes, Central Intelligence feels like it’s run out of steam and is just hoping Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart can carry it to the finish line.
Overall, Central Intelligence is funny and good value for your money but it chooses to play it far too safe and this results in the film not being memorable. It’s just another cookie-cutter comedy that will satisfy you while you watch it but whose presence will soon be washed away from your palate. It is worth watching though, mostly due to a great showing by Johnson and Hart. There are also some big name cameos in this movie that will pleasantly surprise you. 8/10