Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Central Intelligence

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.
Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.

You know what you're in for when you head along to an action comedy staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a CIA agent and Kevin Hart as his reluctant sidekick - a slice of silly, light-hearted escapism.

What you may not expect is The Rock manages to steal scenes from his comedian co-star.

Johnson plays Bob Stone, who as a teenager was overweight and bullied. But Bob has the last laugh when he returns to his hometown to attend his high school reunion - he's now a CIA agent and ripped.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.
Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.

He organises a catch-up with Calvin Joyner (Hart), who was voted at high school the most likely to succeed and is now, well, a disillusioned accountant, and the two get on well, until it becomes apparent Bob is in a spot of trouble at work and has gone rogue, and Calvin and his forensic accounting skills are required to join him on the run to help clear his name.

Some of the funniest - and most repetitive - gags are built around the contradictions of Johnson's character. One minute he's a cool, muscular and deadly CIA agent; the next he's an overly enthusiastic dork wearing a bumbag and unicorn T-shirts, and referencing Twilight.

This of course is to throw us off the scent as to whether he's one of the good guys or one of the bad guys, something Calvin has to figure out too.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.
Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the movie Central Intelligence.

While Johnston rocks into this film with biceps blazing, pocket-rocket Hart, as the straight guy, initially takes a subdued approach to his character, slowly building himself up to his normal energetic, motormouth routine.

Cameo appearances from JasonBateman , Melissa McCarthy and Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani make for good laughs.

They also remind us that Central Intelligence doesn't come close to McCarthy's spy spoof Spy or buddy film Heat.

Instead Central Intelligence is strange mix of high school revenge story meets action comedy, and works best when the Hart and Johnson show is running in full action mode.

Review: Central Intelligence

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Rating: M (violence, sexual references, offensive language) Running Time: 108 mins
Verdict: Bearable odd couple action comedy.

- NZ Herald

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