Central Intelligence is a comedy that’s a bit of a variant on the Buddy Cop movie that we’re all too familiar with. The dialogue and the action are what make this movie stand up on its own, though.
Flash back to 20 years ago. Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is the high school all-star. He excels at everything, and even gets along with the teaching staff. At their final Pep Rally before graduation, the principal extols his virtues. Calvin speaks to the crowd and is gracious.
Meanwhile, fellow student Robbie (Dwayne Johnson) is not faring as well. He’s 3-400 lbs, and is caught showering, and tossed buck naked into the pep rally. Everyone has a good laugh, except Calvin, who takes off his school jacket to give to Robbie, so he can cover himself and escape all the shame..
Back in the present, Calvin is stuck. He’s an accountant, whose promotion was just given to his former assistant. He is reminded by Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), his former high school sweetheart, now wife, that it’s time for their 20th year reunion, and Calvin doesn’t want to go. While he mopes around in his office, he gets a Facebook friend request for someone named “Bob Stone”, and it turns out that it’s Robbie from high school, who turned himself around, changed his unfortunate name, and is now the muscular and toned person that looks like The Rock we all know and love.
After a meetup at a bar for reminiscing, we find that he’s very skilled at fisticuffs, and is now an agent for the CIA. He’s so grateful to Calvin for his gesture all those years ago, and wants his help. Bob needs to understand some data he’s collected, and only an accountant, like Calvin, will make sense of it. Unfortunately, Bob’s not telling all the truth, as we find the CIA’s now looking for him. Led by Agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan), they arrest Bob and tell Calvin they need his help in determining what Bob’s trying to do with this information. Calvin agrees to help them, but only after they threaten to take Maggie.
In any buddy cop film such as this, the story is made or broken by the interaction of the two “cops”. This film is no exception, and Johnson and Hart definitely have good chemistry. Early on, for example, Calvin calls Bob “Jason Bourne, in Jorts”. They play off each other very well. The jokes are sharp, and the action is great, even though it’s marred by that Shaky-Cam style of amping up fight scenes that really irritates me.
I rather enjoyed the movie, but there were a few big plot holes that appear, but only when you stop to think about them. You really don’t have time to stop and think, though, because the movie never lets up, all the way to the conclusion. There are a couple of amusing cameos in the film that help keep things going. In a way, the basic story reminded me of The In Laws from 1979, and I’ll leave it at that.
I do recommend this film, for what it is, a summer action/comedy. As with many comedies these days, there are outtakes at the end, before the credits really start rolling. Most are your typical script and action flubs, but unlike most, they were funny.