June 18, 2016
The movie was directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who previously helmed Dodgeball and We’re the Millers, shepherds the film through its comedic throes, giving it a familiar, yet entertaining, look. The screenplay was delivered by Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project, MADtv) and David Stassen (The Mindy Project), and is surprisingly funny. No, none of the work feels completely original, but the execution works and there is solid comedic timing between the two leads.
The movie centers on Bob Stone (Johnson) and Calvin Johnson (Hart). They went to the same high school, where Calvin was the big man on campus, sports star, most popular, all that sort of stuff, while Bob was fat and bullied. Years later we catch up with the two, Calvin married his high school sweetheart and works as an accountant, despite feeling he was meant for something more. Bob has shed all of his fat and packed on a ton of muscle, plus he works for the CIA. It also happens that Bob is in need of Calvin’s computer skills, leading them to reconnect on Facebook just before their high school reunion.
Of course, the reunion starts off well, but as Calvin learns what is really going on, increasingly wants to get out. Now, the problem is that with Calvin and Bob being seen together, everyone after them is assuming he is in on it, something that Calvin keeps saying he is not. In any case, they are involved in a plot that threatens the safety of the United States and only our mismatched duo can solve it.
The thing about Central Intelligence is that the plot involving national security is really secondary to the comedy, and well it should. The plot still matters and helps set up a lot of the comedy, but the centerpiece is really on Hart and Johnson and their ability to generate laughs. Hart has always been a bit middling to me, I am sure his stand up is probably funny, but the movies just feel somewhat off. As for Johnson, he carries the bulk of the weight here, and, for me, is the reason the movie works so well.
This really is a funny movie. No, it doesn’t break any new ground, but the laughs are genuine and the comedic timing is perfect. There is something about the way Dwayne Johnson carries himself and delivers his lines that is impossible to ignore, he has a charismatic presence and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the laugh.
Central Intelligence is not all that smart, and not all that original, but it is still funny. There are funny throwaway lines, funny setups, and I just had a good time with it. Is it worth seeing? Sure. Will you remember it a few months from now? Probably not. It is a movie that is good for the moment. Just watch and have fun for a couple hours.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 6/18/2016 08:53:00 PM
Labels: 2010s, 2016, Aaron Paul, Action, Amy Ryan, Comedy, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Movie Review, Theatrical Release
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.