Central Intelligence Movie Review
Central Intelligence is the vintage comedy where the trailers are funnier than the actual movie. It’s also the kind of dumb, crowd-pleasing movie that audiences will enjoy more than stodgy critics. That doesn’t mean it’s good.
On paper, Central Intelligencehas a lot of things going for it. Rawson Marshall Thurber, the director of generally liked comedies such as Dodgeball and We’re the Millers, is at the helm. The premise, about an accountant who is recruited by an exuberant high school classmate-turned-CIA agent, is silly goodness. And most importantly, the movie boasts two extremely bankable stars in the form of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
Sadly, Central Intelligence’s value remains top secret.
Kevin Hart is fine in the lead role, playing the excitable straight man to Johnson’s more colorful character. He and Johnson make a good duo, both men expressive and able to play off one another in ways that elevate the material.
Dwayne Johnson is, as expected, the best part of the movie, as his over-the-top, excitable and adorably obnoxious mannerisms matched with bulging muscles and a knack for weapons make for a semi-entertaining paradoxical character. But man, at times you can see the desperation on his face… you can see how hard he’s trying to be funny, willing to give it his all despite only a third of his effort really translating into legitimate laughs.
A third may be generous.
Aside from Thurber’s writing credit for Dodgeball, the other two screenwriters only have experience with sitcoms and sketch comedies, and unfortunately their combined efforts result in a very uneven and poorly assembled film that relies way too heavily on its stars for humor. While the premise, though far from original, has promise, the actual story is so shoddy, stupid and uninteresting that Central Intelligence begins to crumble even before the opening credits hit the screen. Taken scene by scene the movie has some entertainment value, but as a whole it’s occasionally dull, often annoying and never particularly good.
Both Hart and Johnson deserve better; even when they give it their all, they struggle to make good use of the ragtag screenplay available to them.
I did laugh at times--Central Intelligence is by no means terrible--but there were plenty of times where I didn’t laugh much at all. It’s just such a tedious film, a movie that squanders its potential given the pairing of Johnson and Hart. Even worse, it’s just not that funny.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.