“Central Intelligence” stars Dwayne Johnson as a former high school outcast who grows up to join the CIA and gets in contact with the coolest kid from his class (Kevin Hart) to help him on a mission. Amy Ryan also stars as Rawson Marshall Thurber directs and co-writes.
This was on my list of 2016’s most anticipated. I have jumped on The Rock’s bandwagon (the dude is just so damn charming), I enjoyed director Thurber’s first two efforts (“Dodgeball” and “We’re the Millers”) and even though I have only like him in small doses, I continue to hold out hope Kevin Hart has a great movie in him. This may not be that great movie, but overall it is one of Hart’s better ones.
If you’ve seen the trailers for this then you know exactly what you’re getting into. Kevin Hart will do his shrieking thing, Johnson will smile and wink while flexing his muscles and they’ll stroll through a simple buddy cop plot. The film makes no (intentional) efforts to throw any wrenches into the formula so depending on how forgiving a filmgoer you are, this could be a fun summer time at the movies.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have solid chemistry together, which is good because if they hadn’t this thing would have collapsed on top of itself. Hart actually tones it down and doesn’t go on many high pitched rants as normal, and instead plays the straight man of the duo. It was a nice change of pace which made his trademark outbursts even more enjoyable.
As good as he is interacting with Hart, Johnson is more of a mixed bag. His character is a big man-child and when we first meet his character I thought it was just a charade; but nope, he talks like he is 12 for the entire film. It works in some scenes, and you can somewhat empathize with him because of how he was bullied in high school, but it teetered on annoying for most of the film.
Like I said earlier, I enjoy Thurber’s other two films. Both “Dodgeball” and “Millers” are gleefully stupid, but they have so many laughs and run at such a quick pace that you overlook the lack of intelligence (CENTRAL intelligence! *clears throat*) because they’re so damn enjoyable. This time around, as many solid belly chuckles as there are (and the film has its fair share), there aren’t enough big laughs to make you forgive the formulaic plot or lazy handling of the narrative. The middle of the film drags and the whole thing feels longer than 107 minutes.
The best way I can summarize “Central Intelligence” is like this: Kevin Hart’s character goes from prom king and voted “most likely to succeed” to working as an accountant. While he admits it isn’t a bad job, he feels he isn’t reaching his potential. That it “Central Intelligence;” it is a fine enough film that does its job, but given the talent assembled it could have been great.
Critics Rating: 6/10