Posted Jun 29 2016

Central Intelligence - This Rock Rocks...This Movie Even Has Some Heart

Dir: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring Dwayne The Cock, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Justin Bateman, Melissa McCarthy

Rawson Marshall Thurber – curious name, curious man. He made his mark with Dodgeball, a movie that defiantly proved you can make a so-called “dumb” movie by being anything but. The far-less subversive We’re The Millers scored at the box office, but was fairly disappointing. His latest, whilst still playing far too much towards the bland of the mainstream, occasionally has a few edges to it that make it just about worthwhile.

This is particularly evident in the film’s first half-hour, which eschews the action to follow and concentrates on the friendship between its two, likable leads. More than anything, this is a great showcase for Johnson, really allowed to offer up sides of himself here previously untapped - adroitly funny, even vulnerable, even touching. And Hart, as the supposed best high school friend of Johnson’s once “fat kid” also, for a change, gets to show a bit of range – which, God knows, we’ve waited far too many movies to get even a glimpse of. As these two reunite, the film is both funny and warm, and really quite endearing.

Then it turns out Dwayne the Cock is a rogue CIA agent/possible traitor on the run from the good/bad guys. And Hart remembers how to scream and do his manic shtick.

There are still moments to savour – most notably a cameo from the always reliable Bateman that goes much darker and more unpleasant than expected, showing that Thurber hasn’t had all the subversive edges rubbed off him by success in Hollywood. But as it progresses, the film disappoints by becoming more and more generic (a fate that also befell Millers), even though Thurber still occasionally throws a curve (Dodge?) ball.

 CI (without the ‘S’, as all the kids are calling it,) is at times smarter than you’d think, and funnier that you’d hope - even though not as smart or as funny as you’d ultimately like.  

But it does feature real genuine chemistry between its two leads. Hart comes close to that so-far presumed mythical “second” performance, Aaron Paul gets to drop a Breaking Bad “Bitch!’, and it’s a solid showcase for Johnson’s comedic abilities (more than any other film has captured to date.) Guess we’re going to have to stop calling him ‘Dwayne The Cock Johnson’ now. Damn!


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