Dwayne Johnson, you are a versatile (and hard working) actor who deserves everything you have and get. Central Intelligence works because of the two leads, Johnson and Kevin Hart. Hart is doing the standard Hart thing, but Johnson is doing something that I haven’t seen him do in a while: Comedy.
Central Intelligence’s plot is there only to drive the comedy and action pieces of the film. Calvin Joyner (Hart) is the high school jock who’s star glowed so brightly – yet, 25 years later he is living a normal boring life as an accountant. He is bored and disappointed with his life. Bob Stone (Johnson) was ridiculed in high school, but has grown up to be a hulking CIA agent. Stone taps a resistant Joyner for help to recover information about something or another (remember, the plot is really not that important). Along the way, since this is a spy film, there are double-crosses, dead partners and shifty alliances.
When a buddy comedy works, it works well because of the two actors and their chemistry together. A great example of this is one of my favorite buddy films, Midnight Run where Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin have an excellent onscreen chemistry together. Central Intelligence works so well because Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have a hilarious chemistry together. Johnson is calm and thoughtful and always thinking. Hart on the other hand his energetic and hyper and reactive. The two are a joy to watch.
The action scenes in the film are serviceable, but nothing to write home about. There is one sequence that did stand out and it is in the middle of the movie that features a mail cart, a banana and a knife. That one was well done. The banana was a hilarious recurring item throughout the film.
I have not laughed this much or this hard in a movie in a while. This film is fun and funny and well worth a watch.