Central Intelligence Review

What do you get when you find yourself between a Rock and a Hart place? A big old bucket of laughs.

Central Intelligence, a film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, brings together the comedic talents of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart. An action-comedy film at heart, this film sees two very different on screen personalities meet in what can only be described as a two hour laugh fest.

The film follows the story of Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), a once obese high schooler turned fit and muscular CIA agent, and Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart), a forensic accountant who misses his high school glory days, as they reunite on the eve of their 10 year high school reunion only to end up knee deep in an ongoing CIA investigation.

Bob is suspected of being treasonous by his colleagues in the CIA and sets out to clear his name by stopping an illegal sale of government secrets. Unable to go at it alone and requiring the skills and expertise of an accountant, Bob turns to Calvin (aka The Golden Jett) for help. What ensues is a completely unpredictable series of slick spy action, civilian bewilderment, high school memories and non-stop laughs all the way through.

Whilst the plot of Central Intelligence is tired; that is, about a bullied teen turning his life around to become a complete badass spy who then is assumed to have gone rogue, the dialogue between the characters, particularly between Bob and Calvin, sells the story and drives the narrative forward. The dialogues are completely hilarious. The emotions displayed, and actions of both characters in the film are unlike anything I expected. Dwayne Johnson truly owned his character, astonishing viewers with the former ‘fat kid’ schtick. His penchant for rather feminine music, John Hughes’ teenage coming of age, rom-com films and unicorns brings out a side to ‘The Rock’ that we haven’t quite seen before. The way in which Johnson delivers his performance is a real hoot and Hart’s reactions and responses are priceless. The chemistry between these two complete opposite personalities is what sold the film to me and sealed the deal in wanting to watch the film again (yes, that’s right. Central Intelligence is rewatchable).

There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about the film. Despite the plot predictability, the way in which events played out appeared completely spontaneous and not at all what I expected. At every turn and every revelation of an idea, I was not able to guess what would happen next. Not only that, but I didn’t expect the surprise guest stars that were included in the film. The addition of these notable stars was brilliant and made the film so much more intriguing and entertaining.

As an action comedy film, Central Intelligence lacked visually striking effects apart from standard gun fire scenes, explosion effects, brief car chases and typical fighting sequences. This reiterated the fact that the film was all about the trials and tribulations of average joes. Furthermore, the film’s main theme was more about learning about oneself and growing up than defeating bad guys and fighting crime.  Despite not having stunning visuals, Central Intelligence had a wicked soundtrack taken directly from the 1990s, which brought back many good memories (I am a 90s kid after all). These catchy tunes went incredibly well with the scenes within the film and added a sense of good fun and enjoyment.

Being a comedy film with witty comments, humourous retorts and hilarious antics, Central Intelligence does also illustrate some rather important messages about life. These messages aren’t anything we are unfamiliar with, but rather, they are values and ideas that we all know to be true yet often seem to forget. These include treating people with respect, bullying as a growing epidemic that is not cool, being yourself, and never giving up. Bob’s speech about these valuable lessons resonated well.

Central Intelligence was certainly not a film I expected to enjoy as much as I did. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to watch this film thanks to my friends at Paramount Pictures as it has been a very, very long time since I laughed so hard. The bloopers at the end of the film sent me over the edge, making my night all the more enjoyable. If an entertaining, light hearted, funny watch is what you are after, you need to see this film, all the more so if you are fans of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart.

Rating: 4 out of 5 laughs.

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