Central Intelligence officially kicks-off what I’d like to call “The Year of The Rock.” Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” is in and is striking while the iron is hot.
Just this year he’s filmed Wrestlemania (TV Movie), Central Intelligence, Ballers, and Baywatch and has announced plans for San Andreas 2, Doc Savage, Jumanji, Moana, and many other projects in the works.
The combination of The Rock and comedian Kevin Hart was the perfect pairing that nobody expected. Hart plays a high school standout that peaks after graduation and ends up working as an accountant (I like to think of him as the DirecTV “peaked in high school Rob Lowe”). Johnson plays a one-time bully turned CIA agent who needs somebody he can trust to accomplish his mission.
I’ve noticed a recent trend in comedies the past few years and the formula seems to be this: have fast exchanges between the main character and supporting actor/actress and spew as many vulgar one-liners as possible. But if you’re dropping vulgarity every few minutes for comedy, you want it to go over successfully like Deadpool. What you don’t want is to get so lewd and crazy that you end up falling face-flat like Dirty Grandpa. Thankfully, these guys have Hart (you like that).
There was word that production was fighting tooth and nail about the rating of the film and now I see why. The “crude and suggestive humor” and “strong language” was very crude and very strong. So strong that 20 minutes into the film I had to double-check the rating because I was sure it was R (but it is indeed PG-13).
But the very fabric of the film is based on the relationship and onscreen presence of Johnson and Hart and it’s a match made in heaven. It was a beautiful balance of the silly natured, oversized character of Johnson’s and the type-A personality of an accountant meshed with the real-life comedian in Hart.
I give Central Intelligence a 9 out of 10. As much as I love the film, I’d have to disagree with the PG-13 rating. The only nudity comes from Johnson but the language used within the first few minutes immediately gave me an R-rated feeling. So just know that if you bring children with you.