Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Central Intelligence (2016)

Great poster.  So-so film.

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“Saving the World Takes a Little Hart and a Big Johnson”. I doubt I have ever passed a film poster before and dissolved into paroxysms of mirth, so this film at least wins one award with me. 

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.

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Sione Kelepi as the young Robbie: there’s getting exposure at the cinema and getting exposure…

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. 

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Daniele Nicolet and Kevin Hart. If you needed a marriage counsellor, Bob Stone is not the natural choice.

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.

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Aaron Paul about to meet a grisly end in a lift.

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 likeable 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? 

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Calvin Joyner – not a fan of the new ‘drop ride’ at Disneyland.

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.

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Cornered: Johnson and Hart.

A fairly ho-hum comedy which might entertain you on a long plane flight but is not worth forking out much cash to rent. 

Fad Rating: FFf.

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