Kevin Hart is an interesting name when it comes to movies. As a comedian, the man is one of the best in the business, but on film, he’s not really clicked with a really good film. Sure, films like Ride Along and Think Like A Man have a specific audience, and I’m sure they enjoy those films very much – hence why we get inundated with sequels for them. But none of his films have become universally loved outside of his fanbase. So now, he comes in with Central Intelligence. And it’s probably still not going to be a universal hit (although it’s made money for Universal Studios, so there’s an argument there to be made. Ha ha ha. I’m so funny.)
Thanks for that really forced pun, Universal.
But it is a step up.
Also starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Central Intelligence tells the story of Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Hart), the most popular man in his high school and the captain of the baseball, football, drama and debating teams, and Robert Wheirdicht, a fat kid (played by Johnson in a fat suit because apparently it’s the mid-1990’s again and Eddie Murphy wasn’t available). Joyner is the only student to show Wheirdicht any kindness, following an embarrassing incident involving bullying. Fast forward 20 years, and Joyner is now an accountant struggling to find meaning in his life, when he’s contacted by Wheirdicht, now calling himself Bob Stone and working for the CIA. Stone’s in deep, and he needs Joyner’s accounting skills to help clear his name and save the United States of America. From there on, the sort of wacky hi-jinks you expect from that sort of plotline eventuate and everyone has a whale of a time watching all the slapstick and funny lines coming through.
Ha ha ha! Oh I love a good pratfall.
Two things stood out for me in regards to the comedy in this film. The first is that a lot of the jokes aren’t so much jokes as references to other movies. This is a problem that occurs a lot in Hollywood these days, particularly in straight comedies, where the writers think that simply by throwing in a Goodfellas joke everyone’s going to laugh. Some do, but it’s lazy. Although, some of the references in this film get a pass for being self-referential, to the point where they may even break the fourth wall a little bit (and if you look at the high ranking I gave to Deadpool in the top films list to the left, you’ll see that I don’t care much for that fourth wall).
The other thing that stands out is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s in a film opposite Kevin Hart, one of the best stand-ups in the business. But the film, perhaps cleverly, puts Hart in the straight man role and makes the former wrestler the comedic part of the duo. He’s a wisecracking hard-nosed killer whose never had a friend and loves unicorns. And with that childish but innocent murder machine, Johnson manages to hold his own comedically alongside Hart and a supporting cast that includes the likes of Amy Ryan, Kumail Nanjiani, Jason Bateman and Aaron Paul.
This is an example of a Rock that shouldn’t be the comedic focus of a movie. Get off the stage you sedimentary fool!
Overall, if you hate Kevin Hart and everything that he’s ever done, this may not ultimately be the movie for you. If you hate The Rock, then I apologize because at the rate he’s being cast in things, he’ll appear in every single movie released in the year 2019. But this movie is going to be quite a bit of fun for anyone who wants an easy fun light time at the cinema. It’s not even the best action comedy movie of 2016 (hello The Nice Guys) but you could probably go out and watch a lot worse. And Hart and Johnson’s chemistry is good enough that it gives some hope for their next team up, the long requested and not at all unnecessary remake of Jumanji.
3/5 – Have a few laughs with this film, then forget about it for a couple of years until it becomes the Channel 7 movie that cuts in halfway through your favourite football team singing the club song. Damn you Channel 7!
- Ready to freak out, Star Wars fans? Well, put the date July 15 (well, July 16 here. Timezones and all that) in your calendars, because this week Disney announced a Rogue One trailer will be released on this date. This continues the Hollywood tradition of advertising the trailer before releasing the trailer, a tactic every big budget movie uses except for Ghostbusters, presumably because the people behind Ghostbusters wanted as few people as possible to see those trailers.
- Bryan Cranston has a new big-budget movie coming out, and if you think you will have to take it seriously, then you’re goddamn right. The Breaking Bad star has taken on the role of the villainous Zordon in the upcoming Power Rangers movie, and he apparently has taken umbrage to the fact that no-one is taking the movie – about 5 teenagers in latex suits fighting… something, Zordon I suppose – seriously. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Cranston described the difference between the Power Rangers TV series and the movie as similar to the differences between the Batman TV series and the later films. Here’s hoping Cranston has seen more Batman movies than just Batman and Robin.
“Just watch the damn film!”
- As video games continue the race to be the first game to create a semi-decent movie, a reboot of the film franchise Tomb Raider, based on the video games of the same name, has gotten a release date. Warner Brothers have decided to release the film in March 2018, which is far enough away that we can all forget about it and be surprised by a trailer in the future. So that’s going to be nice.
- Hollywood is no stranger to race-related controversies, and one is currently brewing over the upcoming adaptation of the manga Ghost in the Shell. The lead character, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is an Asian character in the source material, but DreamWorks chose the not-Asian actress Scarlett Johansson to portray the role. Controversy increases with the news that the producers were thinking about using CGI to make Johansson look Asian, prompting traumatic memories of that time Mickey Rooney played a grumpy Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Now the producers have come out, and surprisingly, they don’t see a problem with a white actress playing an Asian character, and think you should probably see the movie anyway. So, glad that’s settled.
Yep. This is perfectly fine. Nothing wrong here at all. Carry on.