FILM REVIEW: CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (12A)

Even the amiable presence of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart can’t do enough to save this generic buddy comedy-actioner.

There’s no doubting this movie from the director of We’re the Millers has a charming underbelly and has its heart in the right place – but it lacks the inventiveness of his 2013 hit and seems fifteen years out of date.

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Hart stars as disgruntled accountant Calvin Joyner, who was voted in high school ‘as the most likely to succeed in life’ twenty years earlier, and with a reunion with his old class mates just a day away feels like a failure – despite being married to school sweetheart Maggie (Danielle Nicolet).

So when someone called Bob Stone (Johnson) contacts him on Facebook (and he blindly accepts the invite) and then agrees to meet him to avoid a marriage counselling session, he soon realises it was former bullied obese schoolmate Robbie Weirdicht – who was humiliated out of school by a nasty prank that we see in the movie’s intro – and has now turned into a muscle-bound powerhouse.

But when Stone crashes at Joyner’s house, the CIA – led by Amy Ryan’s Agent Pam Harris – come a-knockin’ claiming that his new friend is actually a rogue agent involved in highly classified espionage that’s going to the highest bidder by the alias of the ‘Black Badger’.

Joyner then inadvertently gets involved with Stone – who needs him for his computer skills to unlock the passcode to the underhand transaction – and it leads to a game of ‘cat and mouse’ from Maryland to Boston with predictably watchable consequence.

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The movie does take a little while to get into its comedy stride, with some early humour misfires that leaves it tonally a little out of sync, but it does slowly get better through the duration – which you’ll see in the genuinely funny ‘genitals’ transportation scene – and ends being pleasantly watchable, with a few cameos from Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses) and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) thrown in to boot.

But Hart will soon have to stop starring in these roles that are akin to his previous entries – see Ride Along – or he’ll soon get stereotyped, while Johnson (as always) does his best to crowd please with the sub-standard scripting at his disposal.

Unfortunately on this occasion this lacks the intelligence to be anything more than an extremely minor and instantly forgettable footnote in the comedy genre.

Gavin Miller [youtube id=”MxEw3elSJ8M” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Ryan Hansen, Aaron Paul, Thomas Kretschmann & Melissa Mccarthy

Running Time: 1 Hr 47 Mins

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

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