Spoilers may follow
In high school, Calvin Joyner was the most popular student, voted most likely to succeed, and the only person to ever show kindness to the school geek, Robbie Weirdicht. Twenty years later, Calvin (Kevin Hart) is dissatisfied with his life and his boring accountant job. One day, Robbie Weirdicht, now going by Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), invites Calvin out for drinks, and Calvin is surprised to see how muscular and fearless Robbie has become. An even bigger surprise occurs when the CIA come knocking at Calvin’s door, telling him that Bob is a rogue agent who killed his partner and is planning to sell secret codes to terrorists. Bob, however, insists he was framed, and, as he needs Calvin’s accounting experience, takes him along for a wild ride.
Like The Nice Guys, Central Intelligence is a buddy movie that never takes itself seriously and offers big cartoony action setpieces and goofy jokes. However, I do feel like Hart and Johnson have better chemistry together than Crowe and Gosling, and what makes the movie worth watching is their conversations and teamwork. Johnson especially seems to be having fun with his role, balancing the roles of a jolly old friend from school and an action hero, favouring the former over the latter. He even makes a Twilight joke funny in this day and age.
The story is somewhat predictable though. You never really think for a minute that Bob may be a bad guy, and once you see who his old partner is played by, it isn’t too hard to figure out that there may be more to him than either Calvin or Bob know. The action sequences are still well-paced, the jokes are still chuckle-worthy, and the main characters are still likeable. Calvin has some of the elements of the typical comedy movie protagonist – he hates his job and has problems with his wife – but you still want him to pull through.
Central Intelligence doesn’t bring that much new to the table, but it is enjoyable for what it is. It’s worth a rental for an afternoon’s entertainment.