Release Date: June 17, 2016
Running Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes
Central Intelligence, starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson as Robbie Weirdicht (Bob Stone), and Kevin Hart as Calvin Joyner follows the story of high school bullies, secrets, and a ton of suspicion. Central Intelligence focuses on the importance of trust, bringing viewers a beautiful balance of comedy, action, suspense, and mystery.
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber, well known for directing Dodgeball (2004) and We’re The Millers (2013) does a great job of addressing social issues through carefully picked stylistic choices.
An example of this was addressing both self image and male stereotypes through Johnson’s character, Robert, who spent all of his high school life bullied because of his weight. We see the traumatic consequences of this experience when Robert faces his bully 20 years later and still sees himself as an overweight and weak child in the reflection.
Later on, as the movie progresses, Robert goes through a character development and by the end of the movie he feels accepted by others, and sees himself as the man he became, not the child he was in high school, and once again, we see this through a faint but clear reflection of how he views himself.
While Dwayne Johnson is mostly known for action movies such as San Andreas, he did an amazing job of becoming a light, comedic, character but still manages to show the baggage this character carries. At times, it did feel as if Johnson took advantage of the dumb card when it wasn’t necessary, but he did manage to come back and make every choice significant to the plot and to his character.
The duo between Kevin and Dwayne was natural, and this was obvious from the beginning. Their relationship never felt forced and the friendship between their characters felt real. This allows the audience to relate with both characters and to truly relax and laugh along with the jokes in this movie.
Their pairing was something I enjoyed watching. It was new, unique, and a brand new adventure with their relationship. While most Kevin Hart movies focus on him, I enjoyed how he stepped back a little and gave some spotlight to Dwayne, giving him time to prove he is a good comedian.
You should know one thing about me. I’m in the CIA.
In 1996, Robbie Weirdicht was the target of bullies in high school. During an assembly honoring ‘All-American’ and ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ Calvin Joyner, the bullies drag Robbie out naked. Calvin lent Robbie his letterman’s jacket so that he could cover up. Twenty years later, Calvin is miserable in his dead end job in an accounting firm when he receives a ‘friend request’ from Bob Stone. Being the nice guy that he is, Calvin accepts the request. During lunch with his high school sweetheart/wife, Calvin announces that he does not wish to go to their 20 year high school reunion since he hasn’t lived up to his legacy. Later that night, he agrees to meet Bob at a bar and learns that Bob is Robbie Weirdicht. Still a loner, Bob considers Calvin to be his only friend and enlists him to assist with clearing his name after an enemy of the state acquires an encryption key to the US Spy Satellite Program. When CIA Agent Pamela Harris arrives to take Bob into custody, the situation becomes unclear as to who the enemy of the state aka The Black Badger actually is.
In order to save the world, we need a little Hart and a big Johnson
Beginning at the opening scene, the pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart is pure comedic gold. Dwayne Johnson leads the cast with an iron fist and a heart of gold. Kevin Hart sticks to his tried and true brand of comedy which to me hasn’t gotten stale yet. Together, they take this comedy/crime film to a whole new level even though the story doesn’t break any new ground. Although, the timely message of standing up to bullies that was delivered by the story was much appreciated. The audience accompanied me in cheering on the two protagonists while boisterously laughing throughout the film. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who directed Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and We’re the Millers (2013), can add another well-crafted comedy to his resume. I will definitely watch this one again to catch all of the references to other films. Johnson and Hart make the action scenes seem realistic and very entertaining which is captured with Arri Alexa XT, Cooke S4, and Angenieux Optimo Lenses. Beat the summer heat, grab some refreshments, and do a back flip into the theater to see this one! ~Movie Buffette
Directed By: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Dwayne Johnson as Bob Stone
Kevin Hart as Calvin Joyner
Amy Ryan as Agent Pamela Harris
Danielle Nicolet as Maggie Joyner
Aaron Paul as Phil
Tim Griffin as Agent Stan Mitchell
Timothy John Smith as Agent Nick Cooper
Thomas Kretschmann as The Buyer
and Jason Bateman as Trevor (uncredited)