Quick Hit: Jokes that fall flat, and a topsy turvy plot that relies too much on going “HAHAHA” really loudly.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is everywhere in film right now. He is somehow managing to be in movie, after movie, after movie. It’s easy to see why he is being cast – he’s personable, he’s got an on-screen charm, and he is, after all, “The Rock”. That makes him a natural fit for action heroes (see San Andreas) as well as comedy-action heroes (Central Intelligence and Journey to the Center of the Earth 2).
However, he can’t save this film. I don’t know why I didn’t love this film. I thought it had a pretty good premise coming in (the trailers showed way too many of the funny moments, but that is what trailers do these days). It follows Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart – also in lots of movies right now) who has gone from the top of the heap in high school to the middle of the pack, in middle management. Despite the fact that he has a beautiful home and a beautiful wife, he’s not content with things. That’s when he receives a message from Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) who was previously Robby Weirdicht (sp). Robby was an overweight loser who was bullied in high school, but Calvin stood up for him. Calvin agrees to meet with Bob, probably in order to boost his own self-confidence.
It fails, predictably, because Bob now looks like the Rock.
It turns out he’s also some kind of agent, and there is a big conspiracy. The agency in question wants to bring Bob in, because they say that he is a “Bad Guy”, but Bob says that they are the “Bad Guys”. Whatever will poor Calvin do!
I may have dumbed down the plot slightly, because there is this main fact: it gets really, really confusing towards the end. So many characters get thrown into the “who’s bad, you’re bad, I’m bad” fold that you almost end up forgetting that this is a comedy. I think they just had the ratio between the scenes like these and the scenes of comedy wrong.
The best part of the film is undoubtedly Dwayne Johnson’s performance. There’s an easy comparison to draw here to Jim Carrey’s Chip Douglas in The Cable Guy. Both are characters who have a minor obsession with a character, both toe the line between being likeable characters and very creepy. However, The Cable Guy allows Jim Carrey to dive into a deeper, darker place, whereas the script inside Central Intelligence causes most of the dark humor to be glossed over. Hart does a good job too, but he isn’t given enough lines throughout the movie. This causes some of the lines he does give to fall flat, and I didn’t laugh nearly enough.
The person who stole the show? Jason Bateman as the snarky ex-high school bully who somehow manages to be a giant tool and hilariously funny at the same time.
I’m giving it a “C-“.
Check out IMDB for more on this film.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"