The first time I saw the trailer for “Central Intelligence”, I thought to myself: “Haven’t they made that already?!”. With all those Kevin Hart movies coming in, I kind of wondered for a while if he had a run with Dwayne Johnson or not yet. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Kevin Hart is a fine comedian, but somehow he managed to introduce the same character in 5 different movies within the frame of 3 years! That ought to be confusing.
So, 30 seconds into the trailer I ran the facts through my head and came to the conclusion that Dwayne Johnson is a different actor from Will Ferrell, Josh Gad and Ice Cube, so I guess we’re good, but not to the point where I will want to watch the movie though. A few weeks later, here I am in the movie theatre with nothing new to watch except this one. So I watched it, and man am I thankful that I did.
Central Intelligence starts with a painful sequence showing the character of “Robbie Wheirdicht” and how he was publically humiliated in high school with no one to the rescue but the biggest star in school; “Calvin Joyner”. Twenty years later we see Joyner receiving a Facebook add request from Rob and later they meet for us to discover the Rob is … well .. The Rock .. While Cal is only a disappointed accountant. Later on we discover that Rob is actually a CIA agent on the run to solve a case where Cal’s help is highly needed, and a series of adventures begin filled with surprises and comedy.
One thing I missed, when I was being introduced to this movie, is the director. The movie is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, the same guy who brought us “Dodgeball” and, 9 years later, “We’re the Millers”. With “Central Intelligence” now on his record, I can confidently say that Thurber has established himself as a household name in the world of comedy. It appears to me that Thurber is an excellent judge of comedic skills. He knows the funniest sides of his actors and he gives them the needed space to showcase them. With a talent like Kevin Hart, for instance, you need to design a few scenes while furnishing enough time for him to give some of his standup material. This is perfectly done in “Central Intelligence”, Hart gets to show us some of his standup quality, and fits perfectly into the events of our adventures.
It was also a surprise to find out that Thurber is great in presenting action sequences. The first encounter between Rob, Cal and the CIA agents, which took place in Cal’s office, was extremely entertaining and creatively designed. The use of the office environment and the available stationary was great, and I really hoped they would do it more frequently, but unfortunately the rest of the action sequences, though skillfully shot, were relatively less creative.
“Central Intelligence” was filled with happy surprises for me, but the most important one of them all is definitely Dwayne Johnson. Fully aware that I was watching a superficial comedy, I believe that this is the most complicated performance of his career as an actor. Rob is introduced as a manchild upon meeting Cal after 20 years have passed, and even after we learn about his CIA involvement, we’re still left to wonder if he’s embodying an annoyingly childish persona, or if he’s really this kind and loveable person only with loads of muscles and exceptional combat skills. Then towards the end the biggest question arises; is he actually our hero or the villain? Pulling that off while remaining funny as hell, is something that I wouldn’t have guessed Johnson is capable of.
I laughed hard watching “Central Intelligence” and I believe it’s the best movie so far that has been designed around the type of comedy where Kevin Hart belongs. I’m not sure if the decision to watch this movie is as hard as it was for me, but I advise everybody to give it a try.