Central Intelligence

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson meet up at their 20th high school reunion. Hart, voted most likely to succeed, once the prom king and a popular athlete, is now a mild-mannered accountant living in a nice comfortable rut. Dwayne Johnson is ecstatic to reconnect. A high school loser, he’s gone through life without many friends despite the fact that he’s central1reformed himself and leads a life of intrigue. Unfortunately for Hart, that intrigue’s about to hit a little close to home.

The movie opens with a fat joke. A 7 minute, visual fat joke. I didn’t laugh. I’m uncomfortable laughing at any joke where the punch line is somebody’s body. Dwayne Johnson IS the fat joke, seen dancing in a CGI fat suit, butt-naked, in a high school locker room. You’ve seen the previews, haven’t you? It’s brutal. That pivotal high school prank has haunted him his whole life, even now that he’s big and buff and rippling with impressive muscle (we’re supposed to feel like getting fit has made him a more worthy person, even though to lose the weight he’s quite clear that he had to be obsessive and unhealthy about it…not exactly a cause for celebration). So Central Intelligence and I got off on the wrong foot. But you know what? I’m glad I stuck with it.

This movie is essentially a piece of fluff. It won’t be remembered in the annals of history, or even among the annals of comedy, or possibly even the annals of The Rock’s filmography. But for an evening at the cinema, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are a comedic duo that had to happen (their 13-inch height difference is often played for laughs – a bit of a barb in my side, reminding me how ridiculous I look standing beside Sean, who is 15 inches taller than myself). Their Screen-Shot-2016-03-17-at-1.30.47-AM-750x375-c.pngcharacters are one-note but a pleasure to spend an hour and a half with. The movie is action-comedy, which means there is never quite enough comedy, and the action itself becomes part of the farce and thus has no real consequence. But if you can put that aside, Kevin Hart is as good as we’ve seen him at the movies to date, even if he’s basically relegated to being The Rock’s straight man. Say what??? Yes – you read that correctly. The Rock is bringing the giggles. Together have crackling chemistry and they bro down in some pretty unexpected ways.

Sean said he could have used “a little less story” and it’s true it gets a little bogged down with the constant action, but man this movie does move along like Sean’s Mustang through a yellow light. Like Jay on an out of control, brakeless bike down a tree-lined hill. Like The Rock’s chest muscles after he’s been tazed.

There are even some well-chosen cameos; one was such a little nugget of happiness that it garnered spontaneous applause in the theatre. Don’t look it up. Just go and be surprised. Life is hard. The winter was tough. The news is sad. You deserve a little treat, a few hearty chuckles, and maybe even an ice cream sundae afterward. Yeah, I said it. Go ahead. You deserve it.

 

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36 thoughts on “Central Intelligence

  1. Aquileana

    I like your honest review… the well-chosen cameos you mention at the end of the post seem to give the film a new seasoning… Sending best wishes… Aquileana 🎇 ~

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  2. Christopher

    Even in his pro-wrestler days Johnson seemed to me like he was, well, I hate to admit my own prejudices, but he seemed so much smarter and funnier than I’d expect a guy built like a brick shithouse to be. And in the trailer there’s a quick shot of the “younger” Johnson that’s so funny I think it’s worth the price of admission.
    And it says something about Kevin Hart that he’s willing to be the straight man for a change.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I think this will be a modest hit and I wouldn’t be surprised if this spawns a sequel – it seem that the two have bonded in real life as well. It’s fun to watch them together.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Carrie Rubin

    I’d like to check this one out so I’m glad to hear it panned out for you despite the opening. Sounds like an opening that will make me grit my teeth too. At least I’ll know to be expecting it now.

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  4. ruth

    I’m up for renting this Jay! I actually love both lead actors, they’re hilarious and charismatic. I just watched a couple of talk show episodes of Hart and he had me in stitches!

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  5. Liz A.

    I don’t know if I could sit through that “prank”. I’m always way too sensitive to pranks played on characters in movies. Or real pranks filmed and put on TV. Or YouTube. It bothers me for some reason.

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  6. John Charet

    Great post 🙂 I have not seen this so I can not say what I think, but have you ever seen Hot Fuzz? That is a buddy action comedy that is really funny 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  7. badblokebob

    I always think Mr The Rock is at his best when he’s getting to be funny. It’s why he’s a high point of the Fast & Furious films. The only thing I’ve knowingly seen Kevin Hart in was this year’s Oscars ceremony, though, so he’s an unknown quantity for me. Still, this sounds worth spending a lazy evening on when it winds up on Netflix/Amazon Prime/Sky Movies.

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  8. Khalid Rafi

    I dont know about this one. It sounds like a fun film to watch on a Sunday afternoon when you’re bored and have nothing to do then to actually watch at the theater.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Now that you say that…I’m suddenly very shy about having insisted.

      Nah, I stand behind my statement. I did have fun with this.

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  9. Gmail Email Login

    JUST CURIOUS: What has this genius movie critic ever directed, written, or acted in? He’s like that dead fat critic (I can’t even remember his name) – I don’t remember or care about a single review of his. His gravestone probably reads: “I was a movie critic! Boy I’m great!”

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  10. Pingback: Top 10 Actors Who Play Assholes | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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