Once again, you have my friends to thank for today’s movie. Oh, I don’t mean that this is some random movie that I did not intend to buy on my own. See, when today’s movie came out in theaters, several of my friends went to go see it on opening night. They kept going on and on about the movie, with some of them saying that it was the funniest movie of all time, which is a pretty bold statement. So the following week, I went to see it with them, as they said they would gladly go see it a second time. So I guess we should learn if Central Intelligence lived up to my friends’ claim.
The plot: In 1996, a senior assembly is being held during first period where star student Calvin Joyner is honored with an award when Trevor Olsen and some other bullies throw Robbie Wierdicht, a shy, fat kid that was taking a shower at the time, into the gym naked. As the other students all laugh at what happened, Calvin, and his girlfriend Maggie, feel bad for Robbie and Calvin gives Robbie his varsity jacket to cover up with, which Robbie thanks him for before running out of the gym. 20 years later, Calvin is frustrated with the way his life is going after hearing that his former intern has been promoted to a senior partner at the accounting firm he works at. While having lunch with Maggie, who is now his wife, she talks about the upcoming high school reunion but Calvin says he doesn’t want to go because he was voted most likely to succeed but feels he peaked in high school and his life since has been a disappointment, which upsets Maggie. Back at the office, Calvin is on Facebook when he receives a friend request from someone named Bob Stone and after he accepts it, he learns that it is Robbie, who invites him out for drinks to catch up. Calvin shows up at the bar and is surprised to see that Robbie has changed from the shy, bullied fat kid to a muscular, more confidant man. After Bob takes out 4 men that were harassing them, Bob convinces Calvin to go with him to their high school, where Calvin admits to Bob about his feeling disappointed with his life as he looks at the trophy case with his high school awards. When Bob takes Calvin home, he asks Calvin to take a look at some overseas payroll information for him. When Calvin pulls up the information, he says that it is bids on an auction site that ends the next day but just as a warning screen pops up, Bob accidentally spills a beer on Calvin’s laptop, ruining it. The next morning, Calvin finds CIA Agent Pamela Harris and 2 more agents at his house looking for Bob, who she says stole some satellite codes and plans on selling them. Pamela takes Calvin to his office, believing Bob will get in contact with Calvin again. Bob causes a distraction to get Pamela and her men out of Calvin’s office, allowing him to sneak in but when he tries to convince Calvin to leave with him, agents show up to arrest Bob. After fighting with several of the agents, where Calvin inadvertently helps him, Bob manages to escape with Calvin, then explains that a criminal known as the Black Badger stole the codes and killed Bob’s partner when they went after him. When a CIA asset named Larry tracks them down and starts fighting with Bob, Calvin uses the opportunity to run off. He calls Maggie and says that he will meet her at the therapist’s office but after he hangs up, he is met by Pamela. Pamela explains that Bob killed his partner and created the Black Badger to cover the crime, then gives Calvin a signal device to use when he sees Bob again. Calvin is let go and he heads to the therapist only to discover that it is Bob pretending to be the therapist. During the course of their “session”, Maggie ends up getting frustrated with Calvin and leaves, and Bob starts talking to Calvin and convinces him not to press the button. Calvin takes Bob to see Trevor, saying that the need his help to get the transaction number since it is from an off shore account. After getting the number, Trevor apologizes to Bob for what he did but when Bob goes to accept the apology, Trevor says he was kidding and proceeds to belittle Bob again and Bob freezes up while dealing with his high school bully and just walks away. As Calvin goes to join him, he receives a call from Pamela saying that Maggie is going to be arrested unless Calvin tells her where they are. Bob and Calvin are picked up by Pamela and the CIA and taken to a holding facility, where Pamela starts torturing Bob. Calvin feels bad about what he did and, after apologizing for turning him in, Calvin helps Bob escape from custody. Using the transaction numbers to figure out where the deal for the codes is happening, the figure out it is happening in Boston so they steal a plane and head there. Reaching the coordinates, Calvin wonders why they would be having the meeting out in the open and seeing a nearby entrance to an underground garage, realizes the meeting is there. Bob tells Calvin to wait up top while he goes to stop the meeting but when Calvin sees Pamela arrive, he goes down to warn Bob. In the garage, Calvin sees Bob speaking with the buyers and when they ask who Calvin is, Bob tells them he is his partner, then shoots Calvin. As Bob goes to conclude the deal, Bob’s partner Phil, who everyone believed was dead, shows up and says he is the Black Badger. Pamela and her agents show up and a firefight erupts and during the commotion Calvin, who was only grazed by Bob’s bullet, manages to grab the codes and leave. Making his way to a bridge, Calvin is confronted by both Bob and Phil, with each of them trying to convince Calvin that they are the good guy. As the two men start fighting, Calvin ends up shooting Bob in the butt, and Phil reveals that he is really the Black Badger and explains how he faked his death. When Phil goes to shoot Calvin, Calvin attempts the Golden Flip, a maneuver he used to do in high school, and when he falls on his face, Phil mocks him but Calvin says it was meant as a distraction as Bob appears and rips out Phil’s throat. Bob and Calvin give Pamela the codes, who then flies them to their high school reunion in a helicopter and offers Calvin a job with the agency if he wants to change careers. Maggie wonders what is going on and Calvin and Bob explain what happened and Calvin apologizes for how he had been acting. Inside the school, Bob feels nervous and wants to leave when he is announced as the homecoming king, which Calvin admits to Maggie is due to his hacking into the database and altering the votes. As he heads up to the stage, Trevor shows up to try and torment Bob again but Bob knocks him out and steps over him. As Bob gives his speech, he begins to undress as a way of conquering his demons from the past, then sees his high school sweetheart and they share a kiss. Some time later, Calvin is preparing for his first day at the agency and kisses Maggie, who is now pregnant with their child, and finds Bob waiting for him. As Calvin approaches him, Bob gives Calvin back the varsity jacket Calvin gave him years ago and the two head off to work.
Central Intelligence received mixed to positive reviews from the critics, earning a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry.” The movie made $35.5 million it’s opening weekend, which is better than the $30 million it was projected to make but was only good enough for second place behind Finding Dory, which had a $135.1 million opening. The movie would become a box office hit as it ended up making $215.2 million off of a $50 million budget.
So, this is not the funniest movie of all time but it was definitely one of the funniest movies I have seen this year. Kevin Hart (Calvin) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Bob) were fantastic in this movie and had some amazing comedic timing together. The story did feel a little weak and came across as a mix between a buddy cop move and a spy thriller, but didn’t quite gel like they wanted. That being said, the writing was really good and the humor in this movie, though definitely adult at times, was really funny and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. So this is not the GOAT (Greatest of all Time), but this is definitely a funny movie that is worth watching.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5