Hot Take: I guess you need more than a little Hart and a big Johnson, after all. A funnier script might have helped.
Potential. Central Intelligence had a ton of it. Dwayne Johnson is a bonafide star and has proven he can carry action movies with both might and charm and has also had a few glimpses of a comedic presence. Kevin Hart is one of the funniest stand-up comedians going and typically delivers a funny performance even when the movie isn’t all that good. (See, well, almost anything Hart has done.) So, pairing the two in a buddy comedy seems like a can’t miss. Throw in an excellent trailer and some great pre-movie appearances by the duo and Central Intelligence was primed to be the comedy hit of the summer. Unfortunately, there was something missing: Comedy.
For what it’s worth, Central Intelligence isn’t terrible. Both Johnson and Hart have an on-screen presence that makes you smile even if it isn’t doubling you over. The movie offers nothing new in terms of plot twists. If I handed you action figures of the actors in the movie, you and your friends would likely produce a comparable flick. (Right down to the moment when Aaron Paul says “Bitch!”)
For the most part, Johnson and Hart have great chemistry. Actually, the chemistry might be too good as there are times in the film where the two aren’t supposed to be enjoying each other’s company as much as they seem to be. It gives a lot of hope for the inevitable Central Intelligence 2 which we should expect to hit theaters in 2018 or 2019. (This is pure speculation on my part but come on! Every movie gets a sequel these days.)
The biggest fault the movie has is how formulaic it is. There doesn’t seem to be an original idea in the entire 114 minutes the film is on screen. Outside of the low hanging fruit picked by the writers to make us laugh, the action sequences are so cliché, it’s hard to really give them much thought. How many times are we going to watch action sequences where the bad guys can’t shoot and car chases take place on empty city streets? In a day and age where we can’t sneeze without someone putting it on YouTube or Snapchat, you’d think the writers and directors would be acutely aware of those mediums. Hell, there are bad Facebook and Snapchat jokes in the movie. The writers know these things exist.
Central Intelligence ends up being a below average movie that relies heavily on it’s star power. Fortunately, Johnson and Hart are big enough to carry the movie but they can only carry it so far. With the lack of help, the dynamic duo receive, Central Intelligence becomes just another summer fling you’ll likely forget.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Johnson and Hart
The pair work well together and it would be unsurprising to see them team up again. Let’s hope it’s for something other than Central Intelligence 2 but in all likelihood, that’s the most probable outcome.
- The Rock’s Wardrobe
As Bob Stone, Johnson sports a yellow Public Enemy T-shirt and a unicorn shirt. As someone who frequently walks around town in a Pikachu shirt, I totally support this fashion trend.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Uninspired Supporting Cast & Cameos
While the casting of Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul are actually good casting decisions, their talents are underutilized. Why does Jason Bateman have to be an asshole in every movie he’s in? Is that all he’s capable of? And that last cameo… well, it’s predictable but I won’t spoil it since it’s uncredited.
- Piss-Poor Action
At what point will we raise the effort put into action scenes in these types of movies? I don’t think the writers or director think we’re going to buy that the bad guys can’t shoot and the city streets are conveniently empty… I don’t think they care.