Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
So, two of my favourite celebrities I follow on Instagram come together for director Rawson Marshall Thurber's Central Intelligence. (Dodgeball, We're The Millers) I mention Instagram because this was how I first heard of the film in the making. Actually seeing the crazy, fun antics the two were pulling off on the set, photobombing each other, some of it making the blooper reel at the end credits.
I think they may have had too much fun on set because it shows on screen which unfortunately makes me think they didn't take the film seriously, or, was having too much of laugh, and how is that a bad thing? Hart plays the popular, successful high school kid Calvin Joyner AKA the Golden Jet, who shows an act of kindness to bubbly, bullied, overweight Robbie Whierdicht, yes, pronounced 'weird dick' at High School. Fast forward twenty years to present day and Joyner is not the success everyone thought he would be and Robbie, well, he becomes Bob Stone AKA The Rock who happens to be an agent at LARGE for the CIA.
The two of them create a superb and very funny relationship which is reminiscent of Crystal and De Niro in Analyse This and That. The therapy session is hilarious and there's plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Johnson's character being larger than life, donning that famous fanny-pack he so got ripped for in real life and having an underestimated sneakiness that would put Batman and Turturro's Emilio Lopez to shame. Hart, doing what he does best, venting funny frustrations whilst continually trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
The film is loaded with movie references that sound like sly digs at fellow actors and there's plenty of in movie jokes and it actually seems strange seeing Johnson as more stupid than serious. He's like a big kid, and I mean BIG. It has a poor plot but it serves the purpose of the film, script too and I reckon a lot is ad-libbed, mostly by Hart.
Action is fast paced, sometimes too fast but it's entertainingly good but just not enough of it. The film spends a lot of time jumping from potential plot twist to another; it's not entirely predictable and has a good couple of surprise cameo appearances. (Don't read the tags at the bottom if you don't want to know who) and it didn't drag for the 107 minute running time.
I think some of the casting could have been better, especially with Warner Bros and Universal joining forces for the first time in twenty years. Amy Ryan's Pamela Harris seemed too much of a copy of Bourne's Pamela Landy played by Joan Allen. There were loads of opportunities for more cameos that could have made this film even more fun.
There's obviously a good 90s retro soundtrack that doesn't feel that old, but damn, 20 years ago; and there's a hint of a good score which is a collaboration between Ludwig Göransson (Creed, We're The Millers) and Theodore Shapiro (Walter Mitty, Spy) tracks from the soundtrack including House of Pain's Jump Around and En Vogue's My Lovin'.
It's certainly not a film to take too seriously, though not considered a spoof. It would sit next to Spy on my shelve and though not as funny as Spy it's certainly better than a lot of comedies out there and I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 5
Job Description: 8
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for the therapy session and being good sports behind the camera, it shows in the bloopers.