Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber (2016)
In every sense the world’s biggest movie star, Dwayne Johnson’s huge charisma, charm and frame dominates this entertaining action comedy.
As a rogue CIA agent Robbie Weirdich, Johnson is like Jason Bourne on comedy steroids, combining a tremendous sense of goofy fun with the ability to fight his way out of a kitchen using only a banana.
The name of the character name is a pointer to the sophistication of the film’s humour.
Robbie is framed for the death of his partner and so lands unexpectedly on the doorstep of Calvin, his erstwhile best friend from high school.
Squeaky voiced comic Kevin Hart is refreshingly restrained and occasionally even funny as Calvin.
In order to accommodate the pneumatic presence of Johnson, Hart is squeezed into a rare straight man role. Although rarely allowed to ad lib in his usual shouty style, whenever Hart wriggles free the film stalls.
Once the king of the high school prom and predicted for greatness, Calvin is now a dull accountant and is having difficulties at home. Danielle Nicolet is sweetly concerned as his beautiful wife, Maggie.
Calvin reluctantly teams up with his erstwhile buddy to attempt to recover some military files while being pursued by the CIA.
Through all the chases, fights, escapes, interrogation, torture and some terrifying relationship therapy, it’s the strong comic rapport between the leads which keeps us engaged.
Amy Ryan is keeps a straight face as an icy CIA chief, Aaron Paul makes an impression in a small role and Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy cameo.
The story is predictable but Central Intelligence blasts along with a fun energy, decent stunts and some surprisingly violent action. Though not an over abundance of intelligence.