As you will all know from my recent post about the programme Ballers, we are big Dwayne Johnson fans in my household. So, when we saw that he had a new film coming out, ‘Central Intelligence’, we knew we would be seeing it in the cinema. Here is the trailer:
Central Intelligence is an action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Johnson plays ‘Bob Stone’ (or Robbie Wheirdicht) who is bullied as a teenager in high school. Kevin Hart plays ‘Calvin Joyner’ who is the school’s most popular student, jock but also just a nice guy who is kind to Robbie.
The story starts with a high school scene and then joins the characters 20 years later. Calvin is disappointed with his life and that it is not living up to his high school expectations. You remember those? I think we all had visions of ‘what we would be’ and some are vastly different to what we are now.
Whilst at work, Calvin, receives a friend request from someone called Bob Stone, it is at this point that Bob reveals he used to be Robbie Wheirdicht and they arrange to meet up. They reminisce about high school and how they have changed as well as the upcoming school reunion. It is later revealed that Bob works for the CIA and now (against his will) Calvin has been brought into a world that he knows nothing about.
Central Intelligence is a great chance for Dwayne Johnson to get his comedy chops going and for the most part it works. There was a point when I leaned over to my husband in the cinema and said: ‘I can’t tell if he is acting badly on purpose or this is his character?’ It turned out that it was the character. Robbie has obviously been affected from the bullying he received in his earlier life and this gave him some interesting…quirks. In order to stay spoiler free I won’t go too much into this as you need to see it first hand to appreciate it.
In almost a turn around Kevin Hart plays quite a serious character for a change, he is able to be the more grounded of the two characters when on-screen with Johnson. Calvin is almost having a midlife crisis and has feelings that we can all relate to in some way. With his marriage falling apart and a boring job with no hopes of promotion he becomes almost reluctant to do anything. Certainly not a high school reunion that shows how little he has done with his life (in his mind).
The first thing I will say about this film is don’t believe everything you read in the reviews for this film. Central Intelligence seems to be splitting people down the middle between those that loved it and thought it was hilarious and those that say it has a clunky/nonexistent plot that spoils what could have been a good film.
I could maybe agree with the plot issues of the film but I honestly believe that the Johnson/Hart combination is able to make you see past that and is what makes this film. The plot does get a little predictable but in this day and age that is not uncommon, also comedies are not generally known for their amazing plot twists either. The one that stuck with me is that Calvin was originally contacted to look at some accounts (he is a forensic accountant) and after doing that is pulled into the story, however, after that he is not asked to do this again so why does Stone will need him around?
There are some great cameos in this film and I won’t spoil them for you, even one I wasn’t expecting as I hadn’t read up on the film prior to seeing it. The supporting characters in the film are fairly standard, there’s the wife (who to be honest isn’t really needed in this film) and colleagues of Bob who are run of the mill CIA peeps.
Despite all of this, at the end of the film my husband and I turned to each other and said, almost in unison, ‘I really liked that!’ Yes, there were some aspects that could be changed and some jokes that personally didn’t land with me but had my husband giggling like a little girl. However, overall I thought that this was a really fun film and certainly a curl up on the sofa on a sunday watch as well.
Central Intelligence is at its most basic a buddy cop film but it also has a moral to the story about bullying. Johnson is able to make the great heartfelt moments (you really feel for him in that office) really hit home. There is a vulnerability about this film in amongst its gags and capers. Bullying is something that affects everyone, whether you were/are a victim of it, you were the bullying or you just know someone who was/is bullied.
The one thing that everyone seems to be able to agree on is the chemistry between Johnson and Hart, they make a great comedy duo and really seem to bounce off each other. I would also definitely suggest waiting at the end, to watch some of the bloopers over the credits where you can see that chemistry on and off-screen. If you follow them on social media you will have seen them marketing the film together but also competitively which makes for great entertainment.
So, have you seen the film yet? Do you agree with me or have another opinion on it?