Big Johnson. Little Hart. That’s all you really all the info you need to know what kind of crime comedy you’re getting yourself into when you sit down to see Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Central Intelligence.
Calvin ‘The Golden Jet’ Joyner (Kevin Hart) was the most popular and successful kid in high school, but it was his kind act of helping a fellow classmate who was humiliated in front of the entire school that sets in motion an obsession that Calvin’s completely unaware of. Fast forward 20 years and Calvin finds himself married to his high school sweetheart and working as a boring accountant dreading the upcoming high school reunion. Out of nowhere he receives an invite to get drinks with the guy he helped in high school, though he now calls himself Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson). What starts off as a fun bro-out reunion quickly turns into Bob recruiting/coercing Calvin into helping him capture a criminal. Against his will, Calvin is forced into a game of international espionage involving foreign criminals, the Department of Homeland Security and agent Bob Stone, who may or may not be a good guy.
If you’ve seen the trailer, Central Intelligence I is exactly what it appears to be, a fun, silly buddy comedy that generates consistent laughs and even has a few fun surprises. The overall arc is one we’ve seen plenty of times in espionage cinema but when you add humor it doesn’t make the duo less attractive as a comedic force. If you haven’t seen the trailer, let’s just say it’s a Kevin Hart movie. If you moderately enjoy his films then you’ll more than likely enjoy this. In fact, this feels like Ride Along except the roles and personalities are reversed.
Now, let’s turn to the acting for a minute. This is Dwayne Johnson’s first role in years where his primary responsibility is to make people laugh. Sure, his presence is that of an action star and he delivers on multiple occasions, but his role is that of a college bro in a CIA officer’s body, something that any muscle head is primed to play. For much of the movie I thought his performance came off as very fake, I just didn’t believe anything he said, but as the film continued on I began to understand why it was so fake and that’s when the charade made so much more sense. Yes, the cheesy delivery didn’t always work during bits where he was speaking from the heart, but more often than not this charade fit perfectly into the story even if Calvin couldn’t see through the BS himself. I have to give props to The Rock, he made his role work even if it was pretty ridiculous.
Overall, Central Intelligence is a goofy buddy comedy that’ll make you laugh and chuckle throughout the entire film. It’s not riotous by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just a fun, mindless movie that gives us another reason to love Dwayne Johnson and question how Kevin Hart’s humor still makes us laugh. From a mainstream perspective, this is probably the most entertaining comedy out in theaters at the moment and a great alternative for those not interesting in seeing the powerhouse Finding Dory, which is also swimming into theaters this weekend.