Central Intelligence

"Very Good"

Central Intelligence Review


After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride Along movies, Kevin Hart takes on The Rock in this entertaining action-comedy bromance. They make a great couple, as Dwayne Johnson's bulk cleverly contrasts with Hart's tightly wound intensity. Even more enjoyable is that they've essentially swapped roles, with Hart as the straight guy opposite Johnson's awkward goofball.

They play characters who knew each other in high school, when Calvin (Hart) was the king of the campus, captain of every sports team, star of every theatre production, top student and boyfriend of the sexiest cheerleader (Danielle Nicolet), whom he went on to marry. On the other hand, Bob (Johnson) was a badly bullied, overweight kid, who now turns up in town for their 20th reunion as a beefy muscleman. Clearly a little unhinged, Bob is also a rogue CIA operative, hunted by his boss Pam (Amy Ryan) for killing his partner (Aaron Paul) and other crimes he insists he didn't commit. So he ropes Calvin in to help clear his name, but Calvin finds this situation so insane that he's not sure who to believe.

While all of this plays out in a blissfully silly way, there's also a bit of an edge to the movie as it explores the issue of bullying with some gentle nuance that includes racism, sexism and homophobia. So even when it's rude or mindlessly corny, the movie is making a point. That said, the message might have been more convincing without the over-the-top violence that fills all of the action sequences. Thankfully, that never drowns out the terrific chemistry between Johnson and Hart, who bounce hilariously off each other as two men who have been emasculated in very different ways and need to prove themselves. This vulnerability makes both of them easy to identify with, especially as they play with their usual on-screen personas.

The solid supporting cast also adds plenty of comedy value, with Ryan in scene-stealing mode, Nicolet as Calvin's surprisingly textured partner and Ryan Hansen as his moronic chucklehead boss. Paul does a lot of witty glowering in flashbacks, and there's a string of amusing cameos right through the movie. So it's rather frustrating that the screenwriters take the standard route to the conclusion while carelessly glorifying murder and machismo. It's still riotously good fun, but it was heading somewhere much more interesting before it wimped out. So since it's plainly set up for a sequel, they'll hopefully be more daring next time.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Central Intelligence:



Central Intelligence

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th June 2016

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Bluegrass Films, Principato-Young Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Peter Principato, Scott Stuber,

Starring: as Bob Stone, as Calvin, as Agent Pamela Harris, as Phil, as Maggie, as Steve, Timothy John Smith as Agent Nick Green, as Lexi, as The Buyer, as Trevor, as Darla, as Airfield Security Guard

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