What would happen if comedian Kevin Hart paired himself with Dwayne Johnson as they find themselves involved with a case against national security? The answer lies in this hilarious offering from director Rawson Marshall Thurber.
In 1996, obese student Robbie Weirdicht is the victim of a very cruel prank in which his bullies grab him while he is in the shower and toss him in the gym during an assembly where hotshot student Calvin Joyner receives an award. Being the man Calvin is, he gives Robbie his letterman jacket and the issue is one that is laid to rest upon graduation.
Flash forward to the present day. Calvin has become a lowly accountant who lost a promotion to his former assistant. One day, he receives a Facebook friend request from a Bob Stone. Calvin accepts and learns that Bob Stone is the former Robbie. When Calvin meets Bob that night at a bar, he is shocked to learn that Robbie has become a tall man with muscles. He soon learns that Bob is a CIA agent who has been accused of treason when some encrypted satellite codes are missing. The missing piece of the puzzle are some transactions in which Bob needs Calvin’s help. However, with Calvin finding himself in the middle of all the chaos, who can he trust and will he get out of it alive?
It is beginning to seem like everywhere one turns, Kevin Hart is there. Having teamed up with Ice Cube on the two Ride Along films and appearing in comedies like Think Like a Man and its sequel, his penchant for comedy is second to none today. So, who better to team Hart with than former pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson, one of Hollywood’s busiest actors today?
Hands down, the comic chemistry between Johnson and Hart is hilarious. Before we get into that, the introduction to Johnson’s character in high school is outrageously funny but at the same time, brings a message about bullying. To make the Rock the way is, Johnson’s face is digitally grafted onto the body of viral dancer Sioni Kelepi (Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” video) and while it is funny, it shows how Hart’s most popular student has a heart yet he feels unhappy with his current life. However, it is when he is practically forced into a dangerous situation that he slowly changes his tune.
The script, co-written by director Thurber with David Stassen and comic actor Ike Barinholtz allows Johnson and Hart to do a little ad-libbing when necessary. That is because the chemistry between these two is hilarious. Hart once again plays the perfect comic foil but Johnson surprisingly isn’t a tough action type until well, he has to do action scenes. Instead, when he is not fighting or shooting, Johnson plays it off as a perfect comic counterpart of someone who has the same feelings he has in high school, the same nerdy qualities behind the muscle, and even still face the wrath of his high school bully (played in a special cameo from someone who will be nameless here) and still feel the embarrassment all those years later. And speaking of cameos, a very unexpected cameo comes in the finale of the film and it is quite funny as well.
Central Intelligence is a great action comedy thanks to the combination of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, some pretty good action sets and some twists, turns, and pretty cool cameos.
WFG RATING: B+
Warner Brothers Pictures, New Line Cinema, and Universal Pictures a Ratpac-Dune Entertainment production. Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber. Producers: Scott Stuber, Peter Principato, and Paul Young. Writers: Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen, and Rawson Marshall Thurber. Cinematography: Barry Peterson. Editing: Michael L. Sale.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Ryan Hansen, Tim Griffin, Timothy John Smith, Thomas Krestchmann.