Central Intelligence Review

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Aaron Paul, Ryan Hansen. 

This review is spoiler free!

The Overview

After he reconnects with an awkward pal from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage. (Source: IMDb

The Good

Everything about this made me think I wouldn’t like it. I generally dislike Kevin Hart in all films that he’s in (but weirdly I like his stand-up), however I do love Dwayne Johnson! With some fairly mixed reviews, I went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. 

Okay so it isn’t a life-changing, award-winning film, but for the most part I enjoyed watching it. It’s pretty by the numbers despite its unrelenting attempts to keep you guessing with the plot, and is really just a vehicle for Hart and Johnson to try and outdo each other with over the top performances and jokes. In the two leads, we have a double act in the truest sense of the word; perfectly balancing and complimenting each other. Their chemistry was easily the thing I enjoyed most about this film, and the noticeable drops in momentum when they weren’t on screen together, further emphasise their effectiveness. 

Dwayne Johnson in particular was great! He didn’t play the stereotypical tough guy that I was expecting, and he has surprisingly impeccable comic timing. The plot may be severely lacking in depth, but with Johnson’s character, there were a couple of strangely touching moments. Hey, when I’ve sat through Grimsby and Dirty Grandpa, which were severely lacking in any redeeming qualities and between them had the emotional capacity of a teaspoon, I’ll take what I can get! 

Central Intelligence delivers exactly what it promises, laughs and action. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but not all films need to be!

The Bad

The laughs in this film are very one-note, and if it wasn’t for the chemistry of Hart and Johnson, it just wouldn’t work. If you’re not laughing in the first 10 minutes, it’s unlikely the rest of it will make you laugh as it is pretty much more of the same. 

The plot is a very loose construct built around the central relationship and is pretty flimsy in places. The constant double bluffing gets pretty tiresome by the end, but I tried not to think about it too much. Probably for the best! 

If you found Kevin Hart annoying before this, then this film will do nothing to change your mind! The Hart-isms are turned up to 11, and personally I found his “repeat the jokes until they’re funny” shtick a bit grating. Considering he has a background in comedy and Dwayne Johnsons was a wrestler, but yet completely outshines Hart, says a lot! That being said, there’s plenty of people who love Kevin Hart, and his energy is infectious, which still makes for a highly watchable performance. 

The Verdict 

I saw this movie and you should too. Look, sometimes a completely throwaway “watch once and enjoy yourself” film is fine, and this is definitely one of those! It made me laugh enough and whilst it’s not one you should rush out to see on the big screen, it is probably still worth your time. Of course comedy can be incredibly subjective, so if you think it’s the sort of film you won’t enjoy, then you’re probably right; however I thought I’d hate it and I actually kind of liked it! The chemistry of the leads and Johnson’s performance alone make it worthwhile; it might be lacking in intelligence but at least it’s fun! 

Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 

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