REVIEW: ‘Central Intelligence’ Starts Strong But Loses Energy As It Goes On

It’s another team up movie for Kevin Hart and this time around he’s joined by one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood.

In “Central Intelligence,” Hart plays a man who was once the most popular and active kid in high school, but is now stuck at a rather dead-end job as an accountant. His situation makes him less than eager to attend his upcoming 20 year high school reunion, but one day at work, he gets a message from Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson).

Bob, who was also a senior when Calvin was in school, was bullied for much of his time there. However, that has turned around as Bob has become a jacked up super agent for the CIA. Calvin, unfortunately, finds this out the hard way as he’s dragged into an international operation by Bob to help him accomplish his mission.

“Central Intelligence” is a real hit or miss movie, with many of it’s funnier moments in the first half and some gags that weren’t really necessary as the second act goes along into the third.

The initial meeting between the two main characters is a lot of fun and the initial kick off to their adventure creates some zany comedy. However, some of the sequences seemed to force jokes a bit too much.

For example, there’s a scene at an airport that drags from the start and could’ve been cut. Additionally, the latter half of the picture features a story that becomes too convoluted and the movie basically has five endings to wrap it all up.

As is the case in most buddy comedies, the integral part usually comes from the relationship between the two protagonists, and here it works pretty well. Johnson and Hart have a lot of chemistry and seemed to have a lot of fun in making the picture. Plus, both are charming performers and are able to be funny when they want to be.

If anything, they’re the real reason to keep watching the film, since the writing doesn’t do them many favors as the film goes on.

In terms of supporting cast, there’s not much to offer. Amy Ryan plays a typical uptight superior agent and there’s a cameo later on, but for the most part nothing sticks out.

There are some laughs in “Central Intelligence,” but there’s a feeling there could have been more. The two hour picture begins to drag as the jokes start working less, though, and the performances from its two leads only carry things so far. It’s worth renting, but not a trip to the theater. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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