Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by: Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen and Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (Bob Stone), Kevin Hart (Calvin Joyner), Amy Ryan (Agent Pamela Harris), Danielle Nicolet (Maggie), Jason Bateman (Trevor), Aaron Paul (Phil), Ryan Hansen (Steve), Tim Griffin (Agent Stan Mitchell), Timothy John Smith (Agent Nick Cooper), Sione Kelepi (Young Robbie), Dylan Boyack (Trevor - 17 Years Old), Thomas Kretschmann (The Buyer), Megan Park (Waitress).
Central Intelligence is pretty much the textbook definition of an enjoyable, mediocre movie. Watching the film, you will almost certainly have fun. The film combines the considerable talents of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, who have an easy, unforced chemistry together playing off each other wonderfully for 100 minutes, before the film ends. Even now, just a few days after seeing the film, the plot details have started to become hazy – and that’s mainly because they don’t matter – the film is about getting these two stars together. And, you know what, it mainly works. Watching the film you’ll have fun. At the end, you’ll forget pretty much everything you’ve seen.
The opens in high school, where Calvin Joyner (Hart) was pretty much the king of the school – voted most likely to succeed, and a part of pretty much every club and sports team nothing was going to stop Calvin from greatness. Bob (Johnson) was completely different – overweight, goofy and unpopular – the constant target of bullies – the two come together at an assembly, where Calvin is the only one who will do Bob a solid when he’s been publicly humiliated.
Flash forward 20 years, and things haven’t turned out the way Calvin expected. He’s an accountant – and good at his job – but he isn’t setting the world on fire. He fears he peaked in high school – and perhaps he’s right. Then he gets a friend request from a name he doesn’t recognize, and accepts, because, you know its Facebook and that’s what you do. It turns out to be Bob, using a different name, who convinces Calvin to come out for drinks that night. Bob is nothing like Calvin remembered – he looks like, well, The Rock now – and before he knows it, Bob has involved Calvin in a large, action packed conspiracy, where Calvin doesn’t know what to believe. Bob, it turns out, is in the CIA – but now they’re after him, saying he betrayed his partner and his country. But Bob still seems like a big goof – at least until he’s pushed, and then he becomes an action star.
Johnson and Hart make an unlikely team in the most likely way imaginable – Johnson’s huge, Hart’s small. This is another movie where Hart is basically playing a version of his typical screen persona – motor mouthed, scared, charming and funny. You know he has to be a loser in the film since they make him an accountant (my profession doesn’t produce cool movie characters). Hart can do this role easily, but he goes all out with it. As for Johnson, this is the mode I like him in the better – goofy and funny, self-effacing, and pure charm. The two work well together, with Johnson’s goofy nonchalance, and Hart’s scaredy cat antics working well together.
And that’s basically it. The movie isn’t high art, and doesn’t aspire to be. It’s not even a particularly example of its particularly genre – 48 Hours and Midnight Run don’t have to worry about being supplanted by this one – but for a couple of hours, it’s kind of fun – and when it comes on TBS in a year, you’ll be able to watch it again, wondering the whole time why this movie you’ve never seen seems vaguely familiar.