Movie Review – Jackie K Cooper
“Central Intelligence” (Warner Brothers)
“Central Intelligence” is a dumbed down movie with a formulaic plot. It will take all of the charm of the two lead actors to create a satisfied audience. But Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have a good amount of charm between them so the success of this movie is a toss up. Plus there is a summer audience that just wants to have fun and will love that this movie requires no thought, just reaction.
The movie starts off with overweight teen Bob Stone (Johnson) dancing in the shower at his high school. In another part of the gym there is a school assembly to honor the outstanding senior student, Calvin Joyner (Hart). Some bullying guys grab Stone and throw him into the gym where the assembly is taking place. He is naked and embarrassed and all of the kids are jeering and cheering. Only Calvin seems to understand his situation and offers his letter jacket so Stone can cover himself.
Twenty years later Calvin is stuck in a dead end job and is not feeling very likely to succeed. He has married his dream woman Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but they seem to be drifting apart. Then out of the blue he is contacted by Stone who barrels into his life and sets Calvin’s head spinning. Stone is either a competent CIA agent or a renegade on the loose.
Calvin is confronted by Agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) who tells him Stone is a bad guy, doing bad things. Calvin wants to go back to his calm life but Stone just won’t let that happen. He submerges Calvin in a world of guns and danger.
Everything in this movie goes off just as you thought it would. There are no plot twists that surprise, no character changes that amaze. It is all by the formula of the “buddy comedy” and that gets old pretty fast. Johnson’s character is a lovable big guy but not too bright. He still has some lingering memories of being the fat kid in high school and that haunts him.
Hart’s character is the smarter of the two. Calvin is the brains paired with Stone’s brawn. Still Calvin comes off as a overwhelmed man who wouldn’t spend two minutes in the company of someone like Stone. Their together chemistry is not good.
The movie does have some moments of frenetic fun in the action sequences but this is one of those movies where nobody gets harmed. The good guys and bad guys shoot at each other from a distance of ten feet and no one even gets wounded. Those scenes take reality and toss it out the window.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence, profanity and nudity.
Johnson and Hart possess a lot of talent, and in the right movie with the right script they are usually very successful. For some reason the paring of these two in this movie does not work. The chemistry is awkward and the situations too contrived. They make a valid effort to connect with the story and each other but it just doesn’t happen.
I scored Central Intelligence” a not so smart 5 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper
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