Central Intelligence: Film Review
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan
Director: Rawson Marhsall Thurber
Mixing Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion with a spy caper sounds like a recipe for relative success, but Central Intelligence lacks the relative finesse to pull it all off.
That’s despite great chemistry between the two leads, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and everybody’s favourite screeching screen star Kevin Hart.
Johnson plays Bob Stone, who was in an obese high school student humiliated some 20 years ago. Hart is Calvin Joyner, a jock and high school popular guy (known as The Golden Jet) who helped Stone on his lowest day. But voted most likely to succeed, Joyner’s now hit middle age and works as an accountant.
On the eve of their high school reunion, Joyner’s contacted out of the blue by Stone, who’s now a fanny pack, unicorn T-shirt wearing beefcake. Intrigued Joyner goes along to meet him and finds himself thrust into a twisting cul-de-sac of espionage and potential lies.
There may be intelligence in the title, but there’s little intelligence on display throughout this broad buddy comedy.
Granted, the chemistry between the duo propels a lot of the nonsense of Central Intelligence along (before it simply lapses into guns being shot off and traditional action film fare).
Dwayne Johnson has a blast playing goofy and a bit dorky as the muscle-head and clearly relishes the chance to be a bit broader than his usual action meat and potatoes action hero stance. Playing up the physicality and yet still professing mad love for Sixteen Candles works well for the slightly doofus approach that's taken. And Hart starts off well, winding down the usual squawking he's familiar for - but ultimately, falls back on this schtick of shrill screeching and flapping around.
Ultimately, Central Intelligence will rise and fall on how much you like these two because the plot itself is fairly non-existent and surplus to requirements.
It may sound disingenuous to dismiss Central Intelligence for its intentions, but there aren't enough laughs or more of a hook than the comedian being the straight guy and the action hero being the kook to carry it all the way through.
Fairly generic and formulaic in anything other than the leading duo's chemistry, Central Intelligence is nothing short of slightly punishingly predictable - with neither enough laughs nor enough flair to leave you feeling you've seen something special.