The story follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob (Johnson), who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent, coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, Bob enlists the help of former “big man on campus,” Calvin (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than Calvin can count.
So, firstly, let’s talk about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In
this latest effort he really reaches in to his bag of tricks and
brings his comedic skills to the forefront. It might sound a
little strange to say this since it’s an action comedy, but I am
learning to respect his growth as an actor. I believe I’ve
pretty much watched most of his movies and always felt he has
the potential to show a dynamic range of the craft.
Nevertheless, in this flick, he went more subtle and was so much
more interesting to watch. This, possibly because his character
made quite a few rapid transitions between being a vulnerable,
honest, funny, and deceptive agent in a short amount of time.
Yes, and this all whilst demonstrating his usual MO: a confident
bad-ass. Plus, there was suspense that kept audiences guessing
as to Johnson’s character’s true intentions, from beginning to
Now, with Kevin Hart, it must be said that I don’t understand the lack of enthusiasm for the guy in the movie industry. Is it because his movies are not attracting international audiences and if that’s the case, does that make him less marketable domestically? I really don’t see why he’s not more widely accepted in his craft. Nonetheless, I sincerely believe that he is one of the more gifted comedians and comedic actors on the scene today. Besides, in this latest role he brought the right amount of his flavor of comedy to his character despite having played similar roles in the recent “Ride Along” 1&2.
As a side note, I’m particularly impressed with the issue of bullying being brought to the forefront in such a tasteful manner. This definitely gained the movie some browning points in my humble opinion. So much so, that just when you felt the draw of how awful high school bullying could possibly be, the movie immediately draws you back in with an onslaught of jokes that bring that deep-belly laugh-out-loud laughter to the audience. The jokes are nonstop, the punch lines come so fast they’re hard to catch when the audience is still recovering from the last laugh. What’s more, I have no doubt some of this was improvised. The script is also efficient and light, reveling in its matchup of the two odd-ball main characters, complete with bathroom humor and slapstick comedy style. The two actors have great chemistry, and the movie makes the most of their extreme difference in height. The humor in that might seem like low-hanging fruit, and it is, but capitalizes on it.
Rounding out the casting (which was very much on point) is Jason Bateman and Aaron Paul, just to name a few, whilst Melissa McCarthy made a small cameo that was quite memorable, to say the least.
Overall, “Central Intelligence” might not win points for originality, but that doesn’t make it any less funny. It is certainly worth the weekend viewing at theaters with popcorn in tow. Four out of five stars might be a little generous here, but it certainly deserves the recognition for good casting and loads of fun and humor.
By Movi-Man Stan
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