Teaming up with Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson tries his mighty hand at slapstick comedy. Is it an instant classic or a tonally incoherent mess? Brian and Hemal have your answer.
In ‘Central Intelligence’, Kevin Hart plays a boring middle-class accountant and The Rock plays a weirdly naive man-child who is also somehow a merciless CIA operative. Because Hart was nice to him in high school, The Rock gets him involved in a confusing high-stakes game of murder and subterfuge. Presumably someone is trying to sell the top-secret codes to ruthless international terrorists, because in these kinds of movies someone is always trying to sell the top-secret codes to ruthless international terrorists, but honestly it doesn’t matter that much.
It is perhaps not accurate to say “these kinds of movies”, though, because ‘Central Intelligence’ is all over the place. It’s a spoof, it’s an action-comedy, it’s a buddy-comedy, it’s a lowbrow gross-out satire; it’s a great many things, possibly to the detriment of its coherence as a cinematic work.
Released in 2016, this marks the third film Dwayne Johnson has made with director Rawson Marshall Thurber, a man who relentlessly shoots for the middle. But at least The Rock is doing something other than his usual stoic hero routine here, putting in a largely comic turn as a foil to Kevin Hart’s protagonist. Did we buy it? Listen and see.