Central Intelligence is a solid, funny spy comedy that dials down Kevin Hart and makes great use of Dwayne Johnson.
Set 20 years after the two were at High School together, where Hart was popular and most likely to succeed and Johnson was the bullied ‘fat kid’, the Film follows Hart, now in a dead end job and refusing to go to the Class of 96 reunion. When Johnson comes back into his life, having lost a lot of weight and joined the CIA, he’s caught up in an action-packed story of codes, corruption and military satellites.
First thing I want to mention, the spy plot is not important. It’s a comedy, straight and simple. The story is just there to string jokes and set pieces together.
Secondly, for a while the Film is more like a drama than a comedy. Hart is restrained and gets some pathos out of his sadsack character. When Johnson arrives, he’s built like The Rock but still loves Unicorns and acts like the dorky guy he was back in High School.
The two bounce off each other well, giving some depth to their characters and making a statement about bullying by the end.
Thirdly, it IS a comedy and it is funny. Not all the time because there is some drama and heart more often than you expect but there’s plenty of laughts that come from the performances rather than rubbish improv.
Finally, there’s a number of solid cameos that are both fun but serve the plot.
It does however flag nearer the end and there are a few too many endings but it has a surprising amount of heart and Kevin Hart is very likeable whilst Johnson remains as much of a breakout star as he’s been in the past few years.
Overall, it’s got a solid comedy quota and enough depth to make up for its shortcomings. I saw it on the reccomendation of Mark Kermode, which for a comedy, is saying something.