So this is what Agent Hobbs does when he’s not working with Dom, Brian, and the crew! 20 years ago, Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Kevin Hart) was the most popular guy in high school. Valedictorian, letterman, ladies man, and overall nice guy. On the other end of the spectrum lay Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson), overweight and constantly bullied by everyone expect for Joyner.
In present day, Calvin has got a job, but not the job. He has the school sweetheart, but things are starting to get a little rough. Calvin can’t help but feel like an underachiever. On the other end, Robbie is Weirdicht no more, now Bob Stone and completely transformed into a hulking physique. Over beers, the two catch up and things seem swell, until the CIA makes their presence known. Bob’s in the agency, and has a price on his head, and as long as Calvin is associated with him, that price is on is head as well.
Death, taxes…and Kevin Hart? Or rather, Kevin Hart in a buddy cop comedy, or just a buddy comedy. It has become an automatic reality over the last couple of years. Central Intelligence finds Hart not paired with Farrell, Gad, or Cube, but one Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, giving the movie the fitting tagline of “Saving the world takes a little Hart and a Big Johnson.”
Central Intelligence, written mainly by The Mindy Project writers David Stassen and Ike Barinholtz, does little different from other buddy cop movies. Its plot can essentially be boiled down to the CIA is shady and there’s some information that can supposedly doom the free world if it gets into the wrong hands. A few twists are had here and there, but the plot isn’t driving this movie. Nor is the action, which, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers, Dodgeball) is fine, but looks a little cheap.
If anything, this is more of a character-driven comedy. No, these aren’t characters one is likely to remember, but in the course of the film, they have emotional centers. Whether it is Bob Stone still dealing with confidence issues after an eternity of being bullied, or Joyner trying to figure out what to do with his life after peaking in high school, you do want to see these guys overcome their obstacles.
Still, as semi-heartwarming as that message and characters are, this is a comedy. And, that is a little bit more of a mixed bag on that front. Kevin Hart is still Kevin Hart, meaning that, although turned down a few notches (from a 10 to say, a 6.5) in this particular movie, still has the relatively same shtick used when he’s going for big laughs. It should please Hart loyalists and do nothing to sway Hart haters. He does play more of the straight man to Dwayne, though, who is the man child who hasn’t quite grown up.
Some jokes land and land big, others fail to register a chuckle, and the constant movie references are rarely funny here. But, Johnson and Hart do have a very real chemistry, enough so that other collaborations would be met with acceptance, as long as they aren’t sequels to Central Intelligence. Amy Ryan plays in a role that really could have been done by any actress. There are some unforeseen cameos that are worth some laughs and are better left unspoiled.
Wha-Whaat! Central Intelligence is firmly mediocre all things considered, but thanks to an entertaining tandem of Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, it is slightly better than average.
Photo credits go to brobible.com, screenrant.com, and comingsoon.net.
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