Central Intelligence stars, Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas, Fast & Furious 6), Kevin Hart (Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Birdman), Danielle Nicolet (Born Again Virgin, Red Faction: Origins) and is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers).
Bob Stone (Johnson) was bullied in high school and Calvin Joyner (Hart) was the most popular kid around but now 20 years later a lot has changed. Calvin is living a normal life as an accountant and when he reconnects with Bob Stone, he discovers Bob is not the same person he knew from before. They get wrapped up in a government conspiracy and Calvin is left to decided who to trust.
I think this is the kind of film, if you saw the trailers and laughed, you’re probably going to like it. I did find the trailers funny and I had a great time with this film. It’s not an all time classic, it’s not even the best comedy of the year but if you go in with low expectations, this is a really fun film.
The big selling point for me, was The Rock and Kevin Hart together. I love both of them but they both tend to make average, to bad films. You put them together and you get an awesome pairing, I could watch in another 50 films. They have so much chemistry together and you can tell instantly they were having fun working with each other. Not only that but their characters are great too. I’m always worried going into a Kevin Hart film because sometimes he can be annoying (the Ride Along films) but in this he was perfect. The Rock surprisingly, does most the heavy lifting comedy-wise, so Hart was able to tone it down and play a more realistic character (he’s still really funny though). Also The Rock is hilarious and it all plays out brilliantly.
As far as a comedy goes, I would have liked a big laugh out loud moment but Central Intelligence is constantly funny throughout. The best scenes are Hart and The Rock in a room, just going back and forth. I’m sure a lot of it was improvised and they let the cameras roll whilst these two guys went at it. There’s more than a few film references that I appreciated and a funny Sixteen Candles/Molly Ringwald bit, that was especially humorous.
What really surprised me, is that this film is pretty sad. There were several times the film takes an emotional turn and it worked. The bullying of The Rock’s character at the start is brutal and the way its works into the whole story is effective. Unlike another aspect which I’ll get to soon, the emotion blended with the humor in a really nice way, that made me care more about the characters but didn’t take away from the fact this is still a comedy. It’s impossible not to like The Rock (why DC, have you cast him as a villain?) and with the back story to his character, he’s so pleasant to watch on screen.
Central Intelligence is The Rock and Kevin Hart show but it has good supporting cast and some fun cameos. Amy Ryan plays an agent trying to track down our protagonist and she’s not in it a lot but she has her moments. I don’t want to spoiler the cameos, (don’t look at IMDB) but there’s one in the middle that is perfect casting and a powerhouse comedian at the end, I had know idea was in the film.
As far as the plot goes, it’s predictable. They try and play up a mystery, “who can you trust” storyline but I saw where it was going immediately. The relationship between Hart and The Rock goes exactly how you think it would, except in the opening scene. As far as buddy cop films go, this is businesses as usual, it doesn’t offer anything new. You can look past that to a point because you like the characters so much but I imagine on multiple viewings, it would get tiresome, with nothing original on the table.
My main issue however, is how contrived each scene is. The Rock and Kevin Hart are hysterically together, no denying that but the way these two get put in situations is horrible. The film is just a series of bits, strung together. The goal of every scene is, “how can we get them in an office together”, “how can we get them in a therapy session”, “how can we get them in a plane”. As the film goes on they try and make an action-comedy, hoping to be this years “Spy” and although it does work sometimes, most of the time it didn’t mesh together.
That being said, I still have a fun time watching this film. I really liked “Keanu” this year but so far 2016 hasn’t been the best for comedies. There’s been some good ones but not a big, hilarious hit of the year. Central Intelligence isn’t that film but it’s still pretty good.
Have you seen Central Intelligence and what do you think about it?