Central Intelligence Review
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High school reunions can be stressful events. In the weeks before, we tend to look back at our years since graduation, assessing whether we’ve made the best use of our time and potential. And in the action comedy Central Intelligence, a couple of old classmates find themselves in completely unexpected places in the days leading up to their reunion.

Central Intelligence stars Kevin Hart as accountant Calvin Joyner, who’s dreading his upcoming high school reunion. Twenty years ago, Calvin was the most popular guy in school. He was even voted Most Likely to Succeed. But his life hasn’t turned out as he’d hoped. Meanwhile, his bullied former classmate, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), seems to have changed for the better. But when Calvin accepts Bob’s Facebook friend request and agrees to meet his old classmate for drinks, he ends up in the middle of a wild adventure involving spies, lies, and national security.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson may be vastly different in stature, but they’re both pretty funny guys. Put them together in an action-comedy, and it seems like the recipe for madcap comic gold. But while Central Intelligence certainly has its entertaining moments, its awkwardness and haphazard storytelling keep it from reaching its full potential.

The story is definitely action-packed. Once Calvin and Bob reconnect, they soon set off on a whirlwind adventure. There are chases and shootouts and twisted tales of international espionage. But there are also random scenes that seem to have little or no purpose in the film—like the scene in which Bob poses as the new therapist that Calvin and his wife have decided to start seeing. And in between those random, head-scratching scenes, there are secrets and lies and cover-ups and accusations and loads of red herrings. And it’s all so tangled that it becomes messier and messier as it plays out.

The story is so messy, in fact, that the stars seem a little confused, too. While Hart is often just as hilarious as you’d expect, he also seems to be floundering through some of his scenes. Johnson, too, is endearingly goofy, yet he seems unsure of his character. Bob is tough but quirky—possibly sweet and innocent but also quite possibly psychotic—and Johnson seems a little uneasy in the strange ambiguity of the role. And the stars’ seeming lack of direction often takes away from what could have been a wildly entertaining matchup.

Of course, if you’re just looking for some brainless action and a few laughs, you may still be able to sit back and enjoy this silly spy thriller. But, unfortunately, it isn’t nearly as brilliantly wacky as it could have been.

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