The title is Central Intelligence, but it doesn’t contain a lot of intelligence. Nope, this is pure guilty pleasure, and is packed with laughs.
Dwayne Johnson is Bob Stone, who was fat and unpopular in high school. The movie opens with him tossed naked onto the gymnasium floor at the last gathering of his class before graduation. Kevin Hart’s Calvin Joyner — who is the class’ most likely to succeed — takes pity and wraps him in his letterman’s jacket.
Flash forward 20 years and it’s time for the class reunion. Joyner’s career didn’t take off, and he’s embarrassed to go. Then Stone shows up, having gone from blubber to buff. It also turns out he’s a CIA agent running from his agency, accused of murder and trying to steal billions.
He’s innocent. Or is he?
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Central Intelligence is directed and co-written by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who penned and directed the quite Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. He has a blast with this material, as do Hart, Johnson and a supporting cast.
We all know Johnson can do comedy. And bless his heart, Hart doesn’t go off to be totally silly and look really stupid like he does in most movies. Ironically, Hart is able to maintain his composure and still be the character who goes off to looks totally silly and really stupid.
And he does it playing the straight man, which is actually Johnson’s comedy forte. Johnson gets to play a guy whose chandelier is missing a few light bulbs. He’s a loose cannon with a heart, and in this case, its courtesy of a rare excellent performance from Kevin Hart.
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Aaron Paul
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence and language. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.