How would you react to a scene where accountant Calvin
Joyner tells you that he’s going to be calm and cool before he steps out to look
casual and collected? Is the audience dumb or is that simply director Rawson
Marshall Thurber’s idea of humour?
Or maybe we should laugh ourselves silly when hunk Bob
Stone pulls down his pants. That’s just where the problem lies. Comedy needs a
sense of timing and Thurber is so stressed over having to serve humour that he misses
the moment several times over.
In the usual ethnic mix of partners which is a
Hollywood staple, Black American Kevin Hart teams up with Dwayne Johnson, and he
never lets you forget his colour. I’m black, is actually there in his dialogues
and that’s supposed to be part of the fun as well.
Kevin is Calvin, a regular accountant, wistful at not
being the centre of attention he once was as the star athlete of Central High
School 20 years ago. So he doesn’t want to go a class reunion. Bob Stone has
memories too. Of being fat boy Robbie who was paraded naked by classmates for
the whole school to gawk at and guffaw. But six years at the gym every day for
20 years has turned him into a man mountain who hits bullies while girls hit on
After 20 years, one night out with Bob and the
accountant’s neat life is upturned. Turns out Bob is a secret agent on the
trail of a traitor who’s got a vital satellite encryption code that he’s
selling to the highest bidder in the international market of wicked men. But Bob’s
being framed for a murder by his own colleagues and he’s on the run.
Rock’s legion of fans will like his flying fists at a
bar fight and the action at Calvin’s office when a band of agents lands there
to find Bob Stone. There are a few comic moments like when Bob masquerades as
the therapist or when Calvin does the back flip he was once famous for.
Ultimately, who’s the agent turned traitor? Once
that’s solved after much action and the world is saved from the
enemies of the state, it’s time for Rock to go raw at the school reunion.
For a film that tries too hard to be a Rush Hour kind of action-comedy, Central Intelligence gets a 2.5*
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author