I was pleasantly optimistic heading into Central Intelligence but this sup-par comedy barely managed to be anything more than average at best.
Central Intelligence is an alleged action-comedy which features Kevin Hart as Calvin Joyner, a middle-aged man moments away from a full blown mid-life crisis, who worries he peaked in high school.
Enter Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Robbie Weirdicht (pronounced ‘weird-dick’ – cue juvenile laughter now), a loser in high school turned muscle bound CIA agent, who drags Joyner kicking and screaming (and he screams a lot) into the murky world of spying.
Intelligence is anything but intelligent, offering juvenile laughs every now and again but fundamentally failing as a comedy, mainly because the script feels like a rushed first draft.
Now, not everything about the film is awful, Dwayne Johnson has mastered the art of the one liner and he’s a more than competent action star, delivering the few laughs and thrills the film has.
I particularly liked the rather sinister stalker undercurrent his character had going on, but unfortunately that idea’s never fully developed, and this one bright spark dies out pretty quickly.
Kevin Hart weighs the whole thing down like a big shrieky anchor, delivering his usual loud performance which worked at times but for the most part is just irritating.
But Hart isn’t the worst thing in the film – that would be the unfunny clunky script. It’s like they plotted out the basic story, planning to add the jokes later, but forgot to write them before shooting began. It was a mess.
I can forgive the plot in a comedy for making as much sense as a particularly drunk gibbon, but at times, twists and jokes were so painfully obvious that a blind man in dark sunglasses could see them coming a mile away.
Things don’t improve much in the action department either. All the shootouts, chases and fights lack any tension, and director Rawson Marshall Thurber fails to add any visual panache to scenes that are supposed to be exciting.
Honestly, it’s a bad sign when halfway through a film you become distinctly aware of how uncomfortable the chair you’re sitting in is and begin to wish the film would end.
While there are definitely worse comedies out there which tread a familiar path – The Do-Over and Grimsby spring to mind – Central Intelligence is basically an Adam Sandler film with a better leading man .
Only watch if you’re a Kevin Hart completist. Otherwise avoid…