2016 Movie Countdown: Central Intelligence (#39)

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I got a plan. Might get us both killed, but if it works it’ll make a totally boss story. Cool?

Central Intelligence is an action-comedy film starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Calvin Joyner was the most popular guy in high school, even being voted “Most Likely to Succeed”. Twenty years later, Joyner is merely a forensic accountant longing for his glory days and too ashamed to even attend his upcoming high school reunion. Suddenly, Calvin gets a Facebook friend request from a guy named Bob Stone, who he soon finds out is an old high school classmate formerly named Robbie Wierdicht. The two meet up and Calvin is shocked to see Stone is no longer the uncool, fat kid who was always picked on. He’s even more surprised when Stone asks Calvin to decipher some very high end accounting records. Though it all comes together the next day when the CIA knocks on his door searching for Stone, who is actually a CIA agent with a warrant against him. Stone explains to Calvin that he’s innocent and needs Calvin’s help to trace those accounting records and clear his name by finding a highbrow criminal called Black Badger.

Pros: First of all, the combination of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart was a genius idea. These two are already charismatic and funny on their own, but together their simply fantastic. You couldn’t ask for a better comedic duo for your film. I have to especially commend Johnson’s performance as Stone. You don’t often see The Rock playing anything more than who he is: big, intimidating, charming, cool, etc. Here you see a character who’s dorky, oblivious, clingy, and a bit annoying to others, yet is such a softy that you can’t help but like him. As for Kevin Hart… he plays Kevin Hart. You know what to expect.

The premise is also fairly good, too, if not a bit generic. If you’ve been following the countdown up to now, you may see a lot of parallels between this film and The Do-Over, which I recently covered. That’s a fair connection to make, though I’d argue that Central Intelligence is a much better version of that story. For one, I care much more for these characters. When it comes to the whole “is he a hero or a villain” plotline, I feel it was much better implemented here with The Rock than it was with Sandler in The Do-Over. Plus, this film actually holds a pretty solid message of anti-bullying that justifies the actions of The Rock on both ends.

Cons: You’d think that for a comedy this low on the list, my biggest con would be the comedy, but it’s not. It’s actually the story. Yes, I know I just went on about how this film is an improvement over The Do-Over and how certain plotlines are much better handled in this film; and to be fair the actual story isn’t that bad. Though where this film starts to falter is in the ending.

The best scenes and moments of the movie are in the first two-thirds, but the final third of the film not only drops off comedy-wise, but also takes to long to end One of my biggest pet peeves in movie’s are films that linger for too long. They build up a bunch of subplots throughout the film — some of which don’t really need an ending — and wait until the end to resolve all of them one after the other. Granted, that may not be that big a deal for some of you, but it bugged me.

I guess it should also be noted that the comedy is also a little top heavy. Again, the film’s best and funniest parts are in the first two-thirds. The climax of the film in particular may have the film’s worst joke. (Hint: it involves badgers).

Verdict: For what is in all reality a generic throwaway comedy, I enjoyed my times with Central Intelligence. Aside from personal nitpicks and the occasional comedic bug, this film is still serviceable at the very least. If you’re a fan of these two actors, I’d say its definitely worth a rental or watch.

For all posts in the 2016 Movie Countdown, click here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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