REVIEW: ‘Central Intelligence’ lacks any filmmaking intelligence


Courtesy Netflix

Online Editor Sharada Vishwanath writes that ‘Central Intelligence’ bores the audience with juvenile comedy.

Sharada Vishwanath, Online Editor

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, “Central Intelligence” is an action-packed comedy that had far too much action and not enough comedy. 

The film follows Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart), an accountant who is reunited with his high school classmate, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson). Stone, though bullied in high school, is now a lethal CIA agent, recruiting the help of Joyner to save the U.S. spy satellite system while fleeing from other CIA agents. 

The most obvious worst quality of “Central Intelligence” is its dizzying storyline. While the plot could have had the potential to be remotely interesting, it was executed poorly. It is impossible to follow along with the ever twisting plot while it’s being constantly interrupted with toddler levels of humor. The movie simply did not have the elegance, or well, intelligence, to execute such a tangled storyline. The audience would need to takes notes to keep track of what was going on. Not to mention arbitrarily thrown in plot points that had seemingly no context leading up to it. For example, Stone’s apparent love of his life is randomly thrown into the last three minutes of the film. Such randomly thrown in plot points disorient the audience and leaves them feeling dazed. 

“Central Intelligence” also makes the fatal mistake of trying to incorporate multiple climaxes. In movies such as the “Black Swan” or even something as banal as “Harry Potter”, the double climax works well. Just when you think you’ve reached the most suspenseful moment, another climax is thrown in. The audience gets to be on the edge of their seat twice. “Central Intelligence” had so many climaxes that the audience was off their seat entirely and on their way to get a refund for their movie ticket. 

The acting could have been the only saving grace had there been any grace left to save. Hart does a decent job portraying the zany accountant with marriage issues. Danielle Nicolet, who played Joyner’s wife, also added a comedic touch to Joyner’s otherwise stale character development and did a good job of portraying the irritated but loyal side character. However, I would have liked to see her have a larger part in the film and would have enjoyed it if her role was expanded a bit. Despite his stature, Johnson does a surprisingly good job of portraying the quirky buffoon. In fact, it was nice to see him take on an aloof funny role instead of his usual edgy I’ll-kill-you-if-you-look-too-hard character. 

But beyond the questionable plot points and infinite climaxes, the movie’s worst facet was what was supposed to be its focus: its comedy. “Central Intelligence” contains a particularly strange brand of humor: unbelievably juvenile patter mixed with surprisingly intense but awkwardly placed sexual innuendos. The movie has too many repeated jokes driven to the ground leading to two hours of heavy eye-rolling. For the main character being a stand-up comedian in real life, I can’t say it wasn’t disappointing. If you enjoy basal levels of oops-I-slipped-on-a-banana brainless humor this movie might be for you. 

Overall, “Central Intelligence” may have been the most vertigo and vomit-inducing two hours I have ever spent on a film. Besides the occasionally subpar acting, there wasn’t much the movie had to offer. You leave the film questioning if you truly watched a movie or Youtube skit directed by a 10-year-old.