A time-honoured tradition for outgoing high school students is the senior prank. Usually the senior prank is a banal bit of mischief that is memorable yet largely innocuous. That wasn’t the case at Central High School, class of 1996. Robbie Weirdicht (a CG Dwayne Johnson) a portly, but affable fan of En Vogue was the victim in Central High’s senior prank. A cruel victim of bullying Weirdicht, was never seen or heard from, since that fateful day. The only one to console Robbie in moment of shame was Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Kevin Hart). Voted most like to win at everything, Joyner was destined for greatness. 20 years later and now an accountant, The Golden Jet has been grounded by the dream killing mediocrity of adulthood. With his 20 year High School reunion looming and unable to live up to the lore that is “The Golden Jet”, Calvin contemplates skipping the reunion; that is, until he receives a random Facebook message from the unknown “Bob Stone”, who claims to be of Calvin’s graduating class.
As the trailers spoil, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) is the former Robbie who has seemingly transformed from doughy teen to ‘The Rock’, with the same boyish demeanor. Bob needs a bit of accounting advice from Calvin, which draws the ire of the CIA (also spoiled in the trailers). Apparently Bob Stone has more secrets than those stuffed in his fanny pack.
Like this wart on my finger, Kevin Hart is growing on me. Though I’m not a fan of his stand-up routines, Hart has a few memorable roles in his filmography. Most of my favourite Hart films are ones where Hart doesn’t have to be the funniest guy in the room. Hart’s straightforward approach to this role contrasts the Dwayne Johnson’s portrayal of Bob, the weirdly goofy killing machine. Central Intelligence is eventually an action comedy, with an anti-bullying message at its core. Overall, especially with a slightly less manic Kevin Hart, the pieces work well together. Johnson and Hart have a chemistry the resonates well throughout the film. While it’s not for everyone, Central Intelligence has some surprising cameos and enough and laughs lobbed throughout its briskly paced story to keep me interested. A good first try for the duo who, if the rumours are true will appear in the remake of Jumanji, next Summer.
Rated: PG-13 @ 114 mins