Central Intelligence (2016)
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The movie starts out well enough, we get the transformation of the formerly bullied fatty 'Rob Wierdich' into the now huge and muscular Rob Stone and how this man now re-enters the life of co-protagonist Calvin Joyner, a man whose great high school promise has in his own estimation fizzled. Stone is over-the-top enthusiastic and presumptive while Joyner plays the baffled and grudgingly accommodating nebbish. But it is carried on too long, straining for the laugh. Hart as Joyner goes from normal speaking voice to Chris Rock style falsetto screeching with apparently little provocation and Dwaine Johnson's Rob Stone plays his overplayed huge smile and light hearted repartee gag so often that it becomes tiresome and distracting.
The mishandled opportunities in the movie get worse as it goes on. Late in the movie comes the anticipated high school reunion. The movie's makers seem to have had no idea how to tastefully or effectively tie it all up and make a satisfying conclusion to the story. The principal bully who has harassed and humiliated Stone throughout the movie could have been dealt his come-uppance in some turnabout humiliation of his own, and I was expecting and even looking forward to this. Instead the writers blew this chance and had Stone simply haul off and knock the far smaller man unconscious with a single blow to the head, in front of the whole crowd. Nice. Way to transform your hero.
More disturbing by far is the next scene in which Stone takes the stage and while accepting an honor, begins to take off clothing. No... he's not going to... but yes. Not only do the writers have Stone strip off his shirt to show off his muscles in a display of vanity, they have him strip completely naked, to the ooo's and ah's of the assembled crowd, and then walk around like a regular dance attendee. What was the purpose of the full nudity? Are we supposed to believe that Stone has altered his genitalia to the better as well as his muscles? (while it isn't shown of course, the implication that Stone is totally nude is clear when Stone tries to hug Joyner and the latter says, "Not now with your junk hanging out!"
I'm not offended at the scene, but I really have to wonder what motivated the writers to think they were advancing the story arc with this uncomfortable and implausible gag. What were they thinking? It's just weird.
Lots of action scenes, cool stunts, but the story was dealt a poor telling.
As opposed to Ride Along, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays Bob Stone in a subverted role than one might expect of the peoples champ. The Rock does a pretty good job as the Optomistically enthusiastic, unicorn loving CIA agent, bringing the action star to the screen as well as a more softer and comical side of the Brahma Bull. The film also features entertaining performances/ cameos from several actors; such as Aaron Paul (Who can't stop himself from calling someone a Bitch), Jason Bateman (Who plays a more comical version of his character from The Gift), Amy Ryan and even Melissa McCarthy. As for Kevin Hart, Kevin Hart is Kevin Hart... Enough said.
The film itself is formulaic, two polar opposites bond over a case they work together... The formula of every buddy cop movie out there. At the close the Rock gives a speech bout being who you are and standing up t bullies, if the film could have maybe delivered that message better or at all then we could be looking at a better film here. The film just felt a bit bland story line wise.
My biggest issue with this film is that it feels censored. I can't help but feel that with 2 major studios backing the film that there must be some major studio interference taking place. There are many scenes that I felt didn't work because of cuts and edits to create a 12A film in the hope to widen the films audience. This is a film that definitely needed a certificate boost to be more entertaining, the humour needed to be ruder for Kevin Hart to work and the action needed more blood and detail to grip an audience. The film just felt tame and too safe and so not particularly entertaining, plus the ending was cheesy as hell God Damn.
Overall Central Intelligence is a film that I feel was ruined by studio interference. The high point is definitely the Rock (but when is he not?) as he plays a different character to what you would expect pretty well. The story is unoriginal and the humour works on occasion but ultimately the film falls flat. What this film needs is a 15 rated Directors cut which I pray Rawson Marshall Thurber releases. The film isn't good but on the bright side it doesn't look like it has completely hit Rock Bottom.
The story is pretty inconsequential, and used as a framework to build set pieces around. Kevin Hart ("Ride Along") plays Calvin Joyner – the life and soul of his high school and the guy voted 'Most likely to succeed'. He's also a nice guy, sensitively covering the modesty of overweight loser Robbie Wheirdicht (a good Dwayne Johnson lookalike actually played by internet wedding-dance sensation Sione Kelepi) after he's been ridiculed by bullies in front of the whole school.
But sometimes life doesn't go to plan and twenty year's later Calvin may have married his high school sweetheart Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but has ended up in a low-level forensic accountancy job and not where he wants to be.
Robbie on the other hand has transformed his life and physique to become Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), a man with a 'certain set of skills' and, as it turns out, a rogue CIA operative. Bob is on the trail of financial codes to help identify the location of the traitorous 'Black Badger' who killed his long-term partner Stanton (Aaron Paul). But the Black Badger could be anyone, and the CIA lead (Amy Ryan) suspects it might actually be Stone. With the stakes rising the inept Joyner needs to make a decision on who to trust and who to fear.
The comedy lead Kevin Hart previously impressed with "Get Hard" and raises a few laughs in this one, notably with his attempt at his signature flip twenty years later than he should have attempted it! Johnson's character is written to be just plain weird and with Johnson's limited acting range (think Arnie in "Jingle All The Way") it's a performance that is on the outlandish side of bizarre. Together the duo make for a likable pair but this is a very lightweight comedy and is generally a smile-along rather than a laugh-along. It is also uneven in tone, occasionally straying into highly un-comedic territory: a throat- ripping out scene anyone?
The director is Rawson Marshall Thurber who previously directed the better comedy "Dodgeball" and the far worse "We're the Millers". So that should set your expectations.
A fairly ho-hum comedy which might entertain you on a long plane flight but is not worth forking out much cash to rent.
(Please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com for the graphical version of this review. Thanks.)
In Central Intelligence, Johnson plays a formerly morbidly obese high school student named Robbie Wierdicht (yes, it's pronounced as Weird Dick, hah!) who was subjected to a horribly cruel prank twenty years ago. He now resurfaces as Bob Stone, a herculean CIA agent who decides to reunite with his only friend in high school, Calvin "The Golden Jet" Joyner (Hart) — back then Central High's "most likely to succeed" student. Ironically, he is now living an unexceptional adult life as a mid-level accountant stuck in a rocky marriage. Little does Calvin know, what started as a mysterious Facebook friend request to a casual catch-up is Stone's silent attempt to enlist Calvin as his unwilling sidekick in a deadly mission to track down stolen U.S. satellite codes and stop a wanted kingpin called the "Black Badger" from obtaining them.
In his previous comedies (Ride Along and Get Hard), Hart is often portrayed as a fast- talking shtick at the center of attention. In this film, We're The Miller's director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who co- wrote the script with Bob Fisher and Steve Faber, breaks this stereotype by subduing Hart to a serious straight-up role and giving the goofy prankster role to Johnson (responsible for pulling off most of the verbal and physical gags). The role reversal works with the slapstick comedy thanks to both actors' exhilarating chemistry and sharp performance. Their size juxtaposition alone is a joke in itself. "Pint-sized" squeaky-voiced Hart, with all his outbursts and babbling, mixes panic and rage probably better than any actor. As for Johnson, he keeps up with expectations here whether by simply donning fanny packs, unicorn t-shirts, and uber-tight pajamas; or flaunting his cartoonish manliness against a character who is surprisingly sensitive and still embarrassed with his past. Central Intelligence is given more depth when it deals with our main characters' high school baggage – Calvin's frustration on his life turning not the way he expected, and Bob's self-esteem issues due to the serious and lasting effects of bullying.
Don't get me wrong, the exhausting espionage plot struggles to have any shred of intelligence to it. It is quite perfunctory to the point that it might as well fade into a background noise. It even falls apart to utter nonsense by the end when the plot twist is revealed and judging by their focus on comedy, the filmmakers seems to be fine leaving the plot holes unpatched. Neither are the villains written with deep thought as they are all cardboard bad guys who are homophobes, bullies, mercenaries or a combination thereof. Apart from the comedy itself, the film apologizes in its shortcomings by boasting a roster of cameos that I'll leave unmentioned for the sake of surprise.
You can groan at its dumb plot, get antsy over action scenes where no one (not even trained CIA gunmen) can shoot straight or frown at Calvin and Stone whispering strategies whilst pointed with guns, but Central Intelligence is hard to dislike because Johnson and Hart shine perfectly in their roles and hence, elevate this film from subpar to moderately enjoyable. Without them, this film will be as useful as a bag of rocks. That being said, Central Intelligence can be a good distraction during a hot summer day.
An accountant gets himself in trouble with the law after reuniting with an old high school acquaintance looking to prove his innocence.
Best Performance: Aaron Paul
Dwayne Johnson plays as Bob, a CIA agent who tries to reach out to his old friend. This escalates into a chase for secret files and national security. The way Bob is presented relies heavily on juvenile gag and demeanor despite his imposing physique, this is fun at first but it hampers the credibility as an agent. The movie wants to add some bullying subplot which is commendable, although it doesn't have the depth to accommodate it.
Kevin Hart is excellent in creating reactions and gestures. He's surprisingly identifiable with high school nostalgia and occasional self-doubt. Many of the good moments come from his outbursts and babbling. The script has a few nifty pop references and sometimes even witty gags, so the comedy is not just slapstick throughout and undermines the "intelligence" in the title.
There are serious undertones of adult life or self-acceptance even though they are not fully fleshed out. Action is pretty light, it's passable without being too demanding. The most important thing is it's enjoyable. Sure, there are a few awkward moments, yet they make the best out of it to present a light humorous spectacle, a better buddy cop gimmick than expected.
Kevin Hart does nothing but gesticulate, obviously desperate for some funny lines, that he never gets to say. So, instead, he tries and fills in the blanks, however it sounds poor and empty.
It reminds me of some 90's movies with Eddie Murphy.
Maybe the writers could have helped at some point.
Dwayne Johnson is quite OK, some jokes somehow work, but it's not enough to carry the movie.
I would have loved to have loved it...
On the downside,the film falters sometimes in the plot section.Yet another OTT performance by Kevin Hart(as mentioned above) I wish the action scenes had a bit more lustre in them.But do not be bothered by that because this is the action junkie in me speaking,and you may like this movie more than I did.
This movie isn't completely flawless,nor is it totally groundbreaking in the buddy cop genre.But it is still worth watching in the theatre,thanks to the chemistry between the 2 leads and a lot of laughs.
OK so would I recommend you going to watch the at the cinema? In short no, wait till its on TV I'm not saying it's not worth watching, but I wouldn't waste your money going to the cinema.
But this one is a bit different! Without spoiling to much, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson brings a lot to this, and is already known as Dwayne "The Franchise Viagra" Johnson, so this is going to be big!
The bromance between the characters is much more believable than Harts movies with Ice Cube, Josh Gad or Will Ferrell. And Dwayne Johnson freshens up our memories of his performance in the 2005 comedy "Be Cool".
All in all, I had a blast! So go see it with your girlfriend or best-friends, and enjoy yourselves!
Johnson only has a couple of mimics, like Schwarzenegger, maybe they had the same acting course. I always get the feeling he's telling me : Look here, I'm the Rock and I can be really funny. Well he can't. He's not a natural.
Hart, its even worse. He's like a cheap clone of Eddie Murphy, who I couldn't stand either.
Alright I admit, I don't like comedies, at least not that kind of brainless comedy. Jokes and funny scenes are so coarse, so primary. It's alright for kids though, and those who remained. Well there must be a lot of them in the USA, or else they would not have raised the budget.
So what's a great comedy in this kind of style ? Ruthless People! That was funny, really funny, great characters, great comedians.
It is not really fun, but, it is engaging enough to not be boring or just plain bad. The Rock kicks some but, but in a mostly-believable way and not too much.
The story is not really good, but, it doesn't have serious flaws, for a comedy, that is. It is mostly consistent, has a good progress and doesn't just implode near the end, like a lot of modern movies (comedies included).
Acting is not really good, it's mostly over-acting, but, both the Rock and his little partner don't "over do over-acting", so to speak. Again, it's a comedy, over-acting is somewhat expected.
So there are a lot of better movies, but, this one satisfies the minimum quality bar. It's a good way to take a rest if you're not sleepy.
In this 'mismatched' buddy action comedy both Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson seem to have stumbled upon some fabulous comedic chemistry that I most certainly didn't see coming.
Having stated my indifference earlier to Kevin Hart I am at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to Dwayne Johnson, a man, an actor who probably shouldn't be as successful as he is...yet I can't resist his charms, there is just something inherently likable about the man as an on screen presence and as an actor in general and that is no different here.
Quick plot synopsis now, flashback to high school, Hart is Mr. Popular, Johnson is the school joke, flash-forward twenty years to the present day where after a social media inspired meetup if would appear maybe that now the two have switched places in life (quite a common story arc) and what may also be certainly more concerning for Hart is the fact that Johnson may appear to be a spy on the run, so ensues a parade of nifty chase sequences some rather inspired and choreographed escape fighting scenes interspersed of course with Hart chipping in with comedic observations of their currently absurd predicament. There is in particular a scene where Johnson has replaced the role of a therapist who is about to give marriage counsel to Hart and his wife and it is extremely funny.
This should not of entertained me as much as it did and trust me I am as surprised as anyone that it got many laughs out of me, it certainly does remind me in parts to 21 Jump Street, what I mean by that is it being a nice comedic surprise of a film that has the laughs but actually does in part also have a heart in place, or as the brilliant marketing department said on the films tagline and posters 'It takes a little Hart and a big Johnson' just superb.
I was a little concerned after the films opening which I mentioned earlier is a flashback to high school where we see the rather unsubtle face of Johnson transposed onto the head and body of a rather overweight kid but the film got out of that just pure weird territory quicker than expected, yes not every joke hits the mark but the success to failure rate is amply way on the positive side of things and the pace and action is brisk enough that it never overstays its welcome which is very surprising given the near two hour feature length running time.
But I suppose the main question that does have to be asked though is 'who is the Black Badger' maybe I'm the Black Badger, as Thomas Kretschmann brilliantly puts it.
So it's not particularly going to change the comedic landscape out there but it more than succeeds in keeping you very entertained throughout mainly thanks to the great comedic chemistry that Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson bring to the party.
I love action and I love comedy as the fusion keeps it interesting. The problem is I don't think there was any action and the comedy I must have missed it as I was in too much pain
The story was you usual Hollywood plot with no depth of all. The attempt to put a twist into the movie made it even more annoying.
At first, the bad acting I thought was part of the show but it just continued.
The highlight of the film was the finish as I was put out of pain, the
closing blooper was probably the funniest part of the show.
Twenty years later Joyner married his highschool sweetheart and is working in a dead end job at an accounting firm with an inflatable gorilla out the front. The idea of him succeeding seems to have fallen flat on its face, particularly when he found himself in the real world. However he receives an anonymous friend request on Facebook and discovers that it is his old friend from school, however he has changed – a lot. Instead of the fat kid he remembered he is now and incredibly muscly, yet still very nice, Dwayne Johnson. Stone is actually needing some assistance, which Joyner gives him, and it soon becomes apparent that Stone is a rouge CIA agent, and Joyner is now caught up in a mission to save the United States, which includes a huge machine gun fight in his office.
So, that is basically the movie – it's funny in parts, but the comedy pretty quickly wears off to become not so much your typical spy action movie, but rather a somewhat unbelievable spy action movie. When I left the cinema I thought to myself – yes, this was a good film, however as I thought about it (though not too much, because there is nothing all that much to think about) I realised that there really wasn't anything all that special about it. While Johnson's character wasn't bad, or irritating, he just seemed to be a little too nice, to the point that I didn't feel that there was all that much depth to the character. Sure, there were some amusing scenes, but it wasn't a side splitting funny type of movie.
I guess it is basically one of those 'life didn't quite turn out as we expected' type of movies – the ones where at the end of highschool it seems as if the world is your oyster, but twenty years down the track all the potential that was there when we were young seems to not only have gone, but has been wasted. In fact Joyner doesn't even want to attend his reunion (I know what it is like – I didn't, despite the fact that Facebook as allowed me to connect with my old school friends) because he feels that the expectation that was there were he was left has been wasted. Mind you, it is also one of those 'wouldn't it be good' type of movies – the ones that suggest that it would be good if something were to just suddenly happen to take the monotony out of life.
Even though it was enjoyable, and I would hardly call it boring, it seems to suffer from the malaise that many of the Hollywood movies seem to be suffering from these days – lack of depth. Oh, and it is also predictable as well – I worked out that there was a purpose for the giant inflatable gorilla almost as soon as I saw it.
Hart plays Calvin Joyner, an accountant and one time high school golden boy who regrets that he never lived up to his potential. He also happened to be the only kid in school who showed any compassion toward heavily overweight, nerd Robbie Weirdicht, played by an impressively CG rendered Johnson. Twenty years on and Robbie returns to reconnect with Calvin through Facebook with a new name and a mountainous physique. What Calvin didn't account for was that behind Bob's overzealous persona lies the cunning mind of a super spy as he is dragged into a dangerous game of espionage with the CIA.
One thing is for sure, Johnson does not have any natural comedic ability and this movie is certainly evident of that. Give the guy a gun and a cheesy one-liner and he's immediately likable but here, his attempts appear forced and down right awkward to watch. However, his performance reflects the considerably under-cooked script in which a lot of the material relies on the improv talents of their key actors and, to overcompensate, Hart gives it everything he's got while ultimately reducing his part to a series of shrill attacks on his bumbling costar. Think Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. Although, in that respect, Johnson isn't even given the decency of any respectable choreography to show off his more applicable talents.
For a movie primarily focused on the relationship between this oddball, buddy-up, action comedy, any actual plot becomes insignificant; something about account numbers and selling secrets, basic CIA stuff. Although, it's a shame as the two actors are individually very capable of being entertaining in the right roles. This little and large team-up had a lot of potential but the whole thing just comes across as hopelessly underdeveloped. In saying that, the tag-line is nothing short of genius, 'Saving the world takes a little HART and a big JOHNSON'. Shame I can't say the same for the movie.
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Oh yes, the catch here is that while Calvin used to be the high- school superstar who excelled at everything from athletics to academics to drama and was thus dubbed 'The Golden Jet', Bob – who used to go by the name Robbie Weirdicht – was the overweight kid who had to contend with being dragged out of the locker-room shower by a bunch of sneering bullies and thrown naked in the middle of a school assembly. And yet, in his moment of humiliation, Calvin's act of kindness in offering his 'Golden Jet' jacket to cover Bob's privates has made him Bob's hero, so much so that Bob worships Calvin as no less than his idol. But it isn't just for old times' sake that Bob is now reaching out to Calvin – indeed, after watching 'Fat Robbie'- turned-He-Man take out four bullies in front of his eyes, Calvin agrees to Bob's seemingly innocuous favour of accounting help with his overseas payroll.
And so begins a series of CIA hijinks, as Bob reveals himself to be a CIA agent after someone known as the 'Black Badger' who has stolen the US satellite encryption keys and intends to sell them to the highest bidder. Though Calvin wants no part in the high-stakes operation, he finds that he is already unwittingly involved when Bob's superior Pamela (Amy Ryan) turns up at his doorstep and informs him that Bob is a rogue agent who happens to be the very Badger himself. Oh, there's also the question of whether Bob's former partner (Aaron Paul in an extended cameo) was killed by the Badger as Bob claims or was in fact killed by Bob himself as Pamela claims. As earnest as Bob may appear, Calvin's struggle as he grazes past one life-threatening setpiece after another is whether to trust Bob in the first place.
From an extended shootout at Calvin's office that ends with Bob and Calvin crashing through the eleventh-storey window onto a giant gorilla inflatable below, to a CIA safe house where Calvin springs Bob from custody, to an underground parking garage where Bob comes face to face with his nemesis, director Rawson Marshall Thurber stages the action with surprising élan, emphasizing Johnson's swift and lethal moves as well as Hart's barely controlled hysteria at every turn. Yet because Johnson and Hart have performed similar shtick in previous roles, the real fun is in watching the two actors play against each other in quieter and more intimate scenes, such as a couples' therapy session between Calvin and his wife which Bob crashes by pretending to be their therapist.
It is in scenes such as this that the sheer chemistry between Johnson and Hart shines through. Thurber, who co-wrote the script with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen, plays against his audience's expectation by letting the usually motor-mouthed Hart play the straight man and Johnson be the unhinged man-child responsible for the verbal and physical shenanigans. Thanks to Johnson and Hart's elevated performances, the 'role reversal' works beautifully and makes for reason alone to watch this instead of say the next 'Ride Along' sequel. The stronger than usual character work is yet further proof that this film is a notch above many others of its ilk, demonstrated in the insecurities that Bob and Calvin each have to deal with individually along the way.
Even though the opening scene of Bob's teenage appearance in the form of Johnson's face fattened by CG trickery suggests that it may end up pandering to the lowest-denominator, 'Central Intelligence' ultimately proves unexpectedly sensitive to the plight of those bullied in high school in its concluding scene, where Bob finally overcomes his personal demons to take the stage in front of his schoolmates twenty years after being painfully humiliated. Besides a cameo by Melissa McCarthy as Bob's high-school crush, it is as sweet a parting shot as any, underscoring yet again what an earnestly endearing and humorous joyride this odd-couple buddy movie has been. Most of all, Johnson and Hart are like 'yin' and 'yang', and together they prove that a little Hart and a big Johnson goes a long, long way.
central Intelligence, is an action comedy film, the action wasn't too bad and the comedy, well just couldn't get the sense of humor I watched better action and comedy even when it is an action comedy film like Hot Fuzz or 21 Jump Street which are really good. you can sit there watching central intelligence slouched and probably fall asleep.
overall, I give central intelligence a 3/10 because the action is a big let down some action scenes where not that bad but then it comes to the action and comedy together it didn't work for me at all.
finally, don't waste your time with this movie, it's nothing compared to the other action comedy's out there.
Kevin Hart does a great job through the first half of the movie playing the straight man while the Rock hams things up. While the Rock's role is over-the-top, he plays it with such sincerity, it's absolutely a riot to watch. I usually don't like when a character's embarrassing behavior is the point of the comedy, but in this case it really works well.
The plot twist arrives relatively early on (minor spoiler), when the CIA shows up and tells Calvin that "Bob Stone" is a rogue operative. For the rest of the movie Calvin is freaking out because he is caught between the CIA and his old high school acquaintance. Calvin has to figure out who to believe, as both sides tell the same story, with slight critical differences.
Amy Ryan does a great job as the cold CIA operative, Agent Pamela Harris, trying to hunt done Bob Stone. She has the sharp dead-pan act down, which lets Kevin Hart play his usual loud squirming act.
There are a number of action scenes, but frankly they are over way too quickly. Sure it makes "Bob Stone" look super impressive in how quickly he can dispatch adversaries, but I prefer actually being able to see the action, and appreciate the skills involved.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie, and judging from the laughter and smiles on the preview audience leaving the theater, I wasn't the only one.
The story follows both of them having reunited 20 years after high school in order to save the world. The main plot is the weakest part of this movie since there's not much emphasis put on it. I will say that there are some pretty sweet cameos in here that are awesome. The action is mostly good even though it got a bit shaky in some places.
Overall, Central Intelligence is a pleasant surprise this summer. This movie is honestly battling Deadpool for funniest movie of the year; I can't believe I just said that. This is definitely one of the better buddy-cop action comedies we've gotten in the past few years.
Central Intelligence gets a B.
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