Central Intelligence Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Amy Ryan. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday citywide.
As Kevin Hart team-ups go, his pairing with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Central Intelligence is marginally more successful than his collaborations with Josh Gad (The Wedding Ringer), Will Ferrell (Get Hard) and Ice Cube (the Ride Along movies). Hart is in familiar territory as Calvin Joyner, a onetime high school superstar who’s now a put-upon accountant. On the eve of his 20th high school reunion, Calvin reconnects with Bob Stone (Johnson), a former bullied fat kid who’s become, well, The Rock. Now a CIA agent, Bob recruits a very reluctant Calvin to be part of his latest mission.
While Hart sticks to what he’s known for, Johnson ends up as the comedic highlight of the film, maintaining Bob’s uber-dork personality even as he’s become a muscle-bound badass. The character work is stronger than the inconsistent jokes and especially the lackluster action sequences, which take place almost exclusively in generic corridors and offices. The thriller plot is boring and incoherent, and it forces the movie to drag on for nearly two hours. A couple of famous faces show up in delightful cameos as Calvin and Bob’s former high school classmates, and given how entertaining those brief scenes are, the movie might have been better off just sticking to the reunion.