Will the real Black Badger please stand up!
If there’s one thing Hollywood studios can bank on is when Kevin Hart or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in one of their projects, it’ll generate lots of buzz, a following, and most importantly… A whole lotta dinero! Now, take that and double it. What do you get? CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. Not the first time we’ve seen an unlikely duo on screen. It’s happened quite a bit. Most recently, THE NICE GUYS starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. This one, however, is interesting. The words unlikely duo is an understatement for what it looks like to have Hart and Johnson team up in an action-comedy piece. Not since Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito have we seen such an odd couple. Ok, well, maybe there’s Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, but Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart? Woe. Who dreamed up such a power punch?
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob (Johnson), who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent, coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, Bob enlists the help of former “big man on campus,” Calvin (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. With twisted fates, twenty years after their high school graduation and abrupt encounter, the numbers man is oblivious to anything he’s gotten himself into, it’s too late to get out, and soon realizes his increasingly unpredictable friend has dragged him through a gauntlet of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than Calvin can count.
From start to finish, the movie capitalizes very much off great chemistry between Johnson and Hart. Both very witty and larger than life when given their moments, it’s not like they’re presenting anything new, but it works as a whole. The over-the-top antics portrayed by Hart are here as they are in all of his other titles, as is Johnson’s charismatic aura and hulking presence. Of the two, Johnson’s man-boy character seems to be the stand-out as his jokes vary from innocent to raunchy, while simultaneously presenting high stake scenarios. But Hart’s character shines best as it rides along (no pun) with various supporters, especially Jason Bateman (Trevor) and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (Agent Harris).
Also starring Aaron Paul and Danielle Nicolet, the movie gives you every single thing it portrays. It’s loud, fast, hip, colorful and surprisingly enough… entertaining. With a seemingly decent plot (co-written by funny-man Ike Barinholtz), CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is a feel-good, popcorn flick. One I can guarantee will make you laugh more than once and deeply hope Johnson and Hart team up again.
Grade: B / Genre: Action, Comedy / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 1:54
Starring: Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Bateman, Amy Ryan
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Hurber