Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writers: Rawson Marshall Thurber, David Stassen, and Ike Barinholtz
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Aaron Paul, Tim Griffin, Timothy John Smith, and Thomas Kretschmann
Synopsis: After he reunited with an old school pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
When you put two of the most hardest working men in entertainment together in a movie, things could go wrong, or they could go right. Thankfully, those two hardest working men are Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The two, who have never worked together before, come off like they have known each other for years and just now chose to work together, and while the material for the film is a bit thin, the work these two put onscreen is worth the price of admission alone.
Kevin Hart plays Calvin, the former most popular kid in school nicknamed “The Golden Jet” and voted most likely to succeed, hasn’t lived up to that label as he is now an accountant. With his ten year high school reunion coming up, he tells his wife, and high school sweetheart, Maggie (Nicolet), that he’s not going because he doesn’t want to be asked about his job. However, things get complicated when a former high school loser Robbie Weirdicht, now called Bob Stone, comes back into his life by friending him on Facebook. Robbie isn’t the same though as he’s lost a lot – a lot – of weight and has gotten past the embarrassing incident of getting thrown naked in front of the graduating class during a prep rally. Oh, and is now a CIA agent on the run.
It should be noted that if anyone other than Johnson and Hart were casted, Central Intelligence probably, and would, have not worked at all. It’s the chemistry between these two that make the film so fun and enjoyable to watch. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to believe that this is the first film that Johnson and Hart have worked on because they play off each other so well. Hart is the more straight-laced persona, as he is pretty much the audience’s surrogate, and reacts to all the craziness the way most of us probably would. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get some great lines to rattle off.
Dwayne Johnson plays a pretty different version of himself than we’ve seen. Despite his massive size and ability to take out a room full of guys, Bob has a goofy sense of humor and even acts a like goof most of the time, all while wearing a fanny pack, and treating Calvin like his hero. Again, it’s a different version of Johnson, who we all see as the tough guy, but here Johnson plays a little more to his comedic strengths which is really cool to watch. Hell, he wears a shirt with unicorns on it for crying out loud!
The movie does go off the tracks a bit when it tries to bring in the spy elements, not because they don’t work, but because the element isn’t that strong. Bob is in the middle of mysterious purchase of codes that can take down the government that puts him in the crosshairs of Agent Pamela Harris (Ryan). Here is where the film tries to add a mystery element, and while it was nice that the film was trying to separate itself from other action comedies that have been coming out, everything leading up to it and the reveal is a bit underwhelming and falls flat.
All in all, Central Intelligence works mainly because of the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The two are great together, and I actually can’t wait to see what the duo will do next (besides the Jumanji remake). The film itself does have its flaws, but when Johnson and Hart are onscreen together, it doesn’t really matter. It’s still a great funny and enjoyable ride.
4 out of 5