Central Intelligence Review

Posted: December 13, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

centralintelligenceWritten by Daniel Simpson

Over the last few years Kevin Hart has gone from being a successful comedian to being one of the biggest comedic actors of the day. He plays the lead in multiple films each year and he’s also become a pretty bankable movie star. Even something like Get Hard, which was negatively received and seldom talked about, made over $100 million dollars worldwide. I’ve watched Hart’s ascension from a far since none of his movies seemed like they’d be really worth watching. To be blunt, I thought they all looked terrible and critics tended to not really be on board either. I did catch a good chunk of Ride Along on TV once and it more or less confirmed my thoughts. Still, I am willing to give Kevin Hart a chance. He doesn’t seem to be going anywhere after all so I should probably get further acquainted. Central Intelligence seemed like my best bet. The reviews were a bit better after all, and I also think Dwayne Johnson is a really strong comedic personality, so I thought I’d give Central Intelligence a shot.

The film opens by juxtaposing two different students. The first is Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart), who is popular and ambitious, as he is named the student most likely to succeed. The second is Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson), an overrated and socially awkward student who as the movie opens is embarrassed in front of the entire student body, with only Calvin extending kindness. Cut to twenty years later and Calvin’s life hasn’t really panned out. He married his high school sweetheart and he also has a well-paying accounting job, but he finds himself unfulfilled. Comparatively, Robbie has become extremely muscular, good looking, has changed his name to Bob Stone, and works as a secret agent for the CIA. Bob has become embroiled in a scheme involving the selling of satellite codes to some terrorists and enlists Calvin for his accounting skills.

Clearly, this is not a very good storyline. This is basically a jumble of spy movie clichés thrown together to create comedy and the more emotional storyline involving the fact that Robbie was bullied as a teen also doesn’t really matter. All Central Intelligence really cares about is the jokes, which is unfortunate considering the film isn’t funny. Most of the humour is broad, obnoxious, and more often than not just bland. This doesn’t even have the gull to be excessively stupid or inappropriate, it’s just really dull, neutered comedy that always goes for the expected gags. I still don’t really see the appeal of Kevin Hart. He has a lot of energy, but he spends most of the movie whining and he ends up being more annoying than anything. Dwayne Johnson definitely fares better here. The dude is naturally charming and he also manages to get some chuckles, but he can’t save the poor script. On that note, there are a few moments here and there which do work, but they are the minority.

From a directorial standpoint, the film is just as bland as its comedy. The cinematography is overly bright and director Rawson Marshall Thurber is content to just point his camera at the actors and let them go off. I probably wouldn’t even bother talking about the film’s visuals and direction were it not for the fact that last year’s Spy puts this to shame. I’m not exactly going to champion that film, but it’s a way more effective comedic take on spy clichés than anything to be found here. Not only is that film funnier, but it also looks a lot better and you can also tell that Paul Feig put some genuine effort into crafting decent action scenes. The same cannot be said for Central Intelligence, which isn’t incompetently directed, but has no sense of effort.

I thought I had fair reason to check out Central Intelligence, but looking back I don’t even know why I wasted my time. This is exactly the kind of uncreative and forgettable comedy that studios crank out with little thought or care. In short, it’s a fast-food product, and I wouldn’t really mind if it at least been fun, but it really isn’t. Don’t waste your time on this.


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