Central Intelligence is a good comedy, it made me laugh, it made the crowd laugh, it’s an absurd piece but it’s also wonderfully grounded. Hart and Johnson have terrific chemistry, so much so, I hope this becomes a regular comedic pairing. Like America’s answer to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. If you’re looking to laugh, I whole heartedly recommend it.
The basic premise is that Dwayne Johnson’s Robbie was bullied to an extreme extent in high school, while Kevin Hart’s Calvin was the most popular and respected kid there. Now twenty years has passed and Robbie is in the body of Dwayne Johnson, working for the CIA and Calvin is an accountant, a respectable occupation, but one that doesn’t leave Calvin fulfilled. This lack of fulfilment leads to marital problems with his high school sweetheart and just before they’re scheduled to go to marital counselling and then to a high school reunion, Robbie, now: Bob Stone reappears, with the CIA in tow.
Bob has put Calvin on a massive pedestal, after Calvin helped him after an extremely traumatising event and pseudo worships him, Calvin, suffering from a mid life crisis does not sit comfortably upon the pedestal and is itching to leave the situation, but Bob needs Calvin’s select skills to complete his mission.
At its core, the film is about identity and trying to be the best version of you while still being you and rather refreshingly the film isn’t cynical, it’s a primarily hopeful affair.
Bob is still the kid who was picked on, he’s just also a CIA agent, he likes unicorns and making pancakes aswell as beating up the badguys, he’s playfully human but at no point does he feel worse for it, he’s better, he hasn’t lost sight of himself, while Calvin feels like he has, scared to have kids yet because he feels like he hasn’t accomplished enough, he doesn’t feel like a typical movie hero, that’s one of the great things about Calvin, he acts like a normal person, to the extent one can while also being a focal point in a comedy. He panics when a situation would garnish panic and he flip flops between allegiances, he’s scared and he too, is human.
There are a lot of little touches in the film that I loved, there’s segments throughout where flashbacks are seen through the perspectives of different people and there are differences, people are remembering things differently or at least presenting them differently to suit their needs, a touch I though was interesting and welcome.
Furthermore, the ending, with a delightful cameo is extremely sweet and well earned. The film is enjoyable and funny, while being really more touching than expected. A great way to spend a couple of hours laughing.
Ps. Hearing the voice of Nick Wilde say such mean things is quite a perplexing experience.