"Central Intelligence" Review

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart team up to save the world in Central Intelligence. It’s a shoot ‘em up, buddy comedy that seems far too familiar with decent laughs sprinkled in. In fact, if Twins, 48 Hours, and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion met up at the bar to discuss making a film, Central Intelligence would be the outcome!

In high school, Bob Stone (Johnson) was picked on and bullied, while Calvin Joyner (Hart) was the man on campus. (It should be noted the CGI work on the two stars to make them look younger is pretty dog on good.) Twenty years later, Calvin is an accountant, married to his high school sweetheart Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), but that may be the only accomplishment he’s had in life post high school that he is proud of. After getting a Facebook friend request by Bob Stone, Calvin decides to meet with him on a whim.

The meeting reveals Bob to be a handsome, muscle bound man with a few lethal fighting skills under his belt. No longer a nerd, Bob seems to have a low key infatuation with Calvin for sticking up for him in high school. As the film moves forward, Calvin quickly gets wrapped into the mysterious world of Bob, the CIA, and his forensic accounting skills are needed to save the world. All of these revelations are made by the time of their high school reunion the next night.

The film has its laugh out loud moments, with hilarious cameos from some of the best in the business. While The Rock is a great actor and he commits to his role in this film, the man child in a giant’s body (especially compared to Hart) feels a little forced at times, thus making Bob seem more like a caricature. At the same time, the film's underlying spy duality keeps the audience guessing as to what's what and who is who as the Rock flips between moments of the nerd in a stud's body to CIA action hero star we're accustomed to seeing. Hart playing the straight man in this buddy comedy is a change that works to let him show his acting chops while still hitting his unique, spastic physical comedy. 

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Central Intelligence is a popcorn flick probably best served for Netflix and chill. You’ll laugh while you’re watching, but forget that you saw it by the end of the year. While saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson in this film, me saving you some money this weekend just took you reading this review! 

Rating: C+

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.