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Central Intelligence Review


Dwayne Johnson is all encompassing tornado of charisma, needing only a cheeky smile to win over audiences. Kevin Hart is similar comedic whirling dervish. So, the two of them together should create a twister of charisma, charm, and humour big enough to menace Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt. And Central Intelligence does just that, the two’s boundless chemistry mixing together to create an enjoyable buddy comedy that plays to both the actor’s strengths. But the problem is, the central pairing can’t help a poor script that takes for granted the fact you need a coherent story to tie everything together.

The story goes that overweight Robbie Weirdicht (Johnson) spent his high school days friendless and alone. When an exceptionally mean park see him dumped in the middle of a pep rally, the only person to show him an ounce of kindness was Calvin Joyner (Hart). Fast forward twenty years, and Calvin’s life is in a rut, happily married but stuck in an accounting job he hates. With their high school reunion looming, Robbie, now a lean, walking hunk of meat) comes back into Calvin's life after years away, a tad too obsessed about the former star athlete for his liking, revealing that he is now a CIA agent who needs his help deciphering a mysterious account. Needless to say, this one request sends them both on the run.

The biggest misstep here is how familiar the story is, presenting a scenario we’ve seen countless times before. Hell, we even saw an incredibly similar set-up earlier this year in Adam Sandler’s The Do-Over, and while I am loath to praise that debacle, at least it tried to do slightly something different with it. Familiarity abounds as the story just goes through the motions, even throwing in the same ‘bad guys got their hands on top secret government file, and are going to sell them to the highest bidder’ trope that nearly every spy modern spy franchise has tried their hand at before. I’m pretty sure Mission: Impossible has done it twice. There’s nothing surprising here, the ‘big twist’ will be guessed within twenty minutes, and it even tries to shoehorn in an anti-bullying message that is fitting to more kid orientated fare. But director Rawson Marshall Thurper (We’re the Millers) does inject an sense of energy that keeps the audience at the right side of interested, peppering in some great action sequences that benefit from Johnson kicking ass and Hart shouting quips from the sidelines.

Of course, this show is all about Johnson and Hart, and the pair’s chemistry is undeniable, delivering one of the best on screen bromances (possibly one sided) in recent memory. It’s easy to see why the two were paired together, but thankfully Central intelligence doesn’t dwell on that, letting them both take a bite of the comedy pie. They bristle off each other perfectly, and while nothing is too low brow for the script, it does show itself to be quite clever at times, not always going for the low hanging comedy fruit. Hart doesn’t really break a sweat here, recycling the character we’ve seen time and time again, but it’s a credit to the actor that it doesn’t feel stale here. Johnson, on the other hand, steals the show, flexing his comedy muscles as opposed to his actual ones, breathing tons of life into the likably goofy Bob. Jabbering a mile a minute about everything from his increasingly funny obsession with Calvin to how fearsome unicorns are, he’s a mass of charm and dead pan deliveries. The rest of the cast are pretty much lost in their wake, including a pair of uncredited cameos that are nice surprises, but don’t really add much more than raising a chuckle.

While let down by a generic story that we’ve seen before and will undoubtedly see again, the pairing of Johnson and Hart goes a long way to making this an entertaining spy comedy.


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The Movie Bit: Central Intelligence Review
Central Intelligence Review
The Movie Bit
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