Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. Both box-office goldmines, both funny guys, it’s a wonder they haven’t been partnered together before. And now, first horse (of which I’ve no doubt will be many) out of the gates and they’ve done the old switchero on us: Hart’s playing the straight guy to Johnson’s unicorn t-shirt, jort-wearing funny guy/Rambo... and it works!
Robbie Weirdicht is the overweight kid in high school that gets bullied, even humiliated in front of the entire school. Calvin Joyner, on the other hand, is the king of the class - popular, athletic, overachieving, voted most likely to succeed. 20 years later, Calvin is married to his high school sweetheart but living the boring life of an accountant while Robbie - who now goes by the name Bob Stone - has become, well... Dwayne Johnson. On the eve of their 20 year reunion, Clavin and Bob reconnect and the usual happens: a few beers, a trip down memory lane, getting embroiled in a national security conspiracy and go on the run from the CIA. You know, the normal stuff.
Hart and Johnson have insane chemistry. It’s obvious from the get-go, and if you follow either of them on social media or have paid attention to their press tour for ‘Central Intelligence’, you’ll know that it’s translated off-screen as well. You can just tell their going to become the next Stiller and Wilson.
Similar films tend to be all sizzle and no bang, with all of the funniest moments crammed into the trailer, leaving the audience over-informed and underwhelmed come viewing time. Fortunately, that is not the case here. There’s still plenty of laughs to be had and even a few surprises, including some great cameos. Unfortunately, however, the surprises do not come in terms of the storyline. The plot is painfully obvious and the “big” climax has the impact of a party popper, and that’s being kind. Luckily no one is relying on the plot or storytelling finesse to move this juggernaut along. It’s all about Hart and Johnson - and they deliver. Johnston relishes his goofy, funny/dork behemoth role while Hart is still Hart, just with the volume turned down from 11 to, let’s say, 10.
‘Central Intelligence’ won’t become a classic, but it is a lot of fun and it will be the money-maker everyone was hoping for - and it will be a taster for bigger and better things to come for this new dynamic duo.