ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Central Intelligence" Movie Review

Updated on January 3, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life, he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Central Intelligence
Central Intelligence | Source

It’s unlikely Dwayne Johnson will win an Oscar anytime soon, but don’t look now, people-- he’s become a legitimate actor. It may not have been foreseeable back in 2001 when he debuted in The Mummy Returns, but since then Johnson has been steadily upping his game. His best performance hands-down was in 2013’s action-drama Snitch, but his funniest work comes in this week’s Central Intelligence alongside Kevin Hart. And more often than not, Johnson actually outshines Hart. Go figure.

In a 1996-set prologue, we first meet Johnson (perfectly morphed via a fat suit and braces) as Robbie Weirdicht, Central High School’s resident target of bullying, while popular kid Calvin Joyner (Hart) is the only person who sticks up for him. Twenty years later, on the eve of their reunion, Robbie (now going calling himself Bob Stone, with a physique to match) finds lowly accountant Calvin on Facebook, bringing the pair together for the first time since graduation.

What starts as a hilarious meet-n-greet quickly escalates, as big and burly Bob (an aficionado of unicorns, Sixteen Candles, and fanny packs) latches onto Calvin like a lost kitten. But the movie really gets going when CIA agent Pam Harris (Amy Ryan) shows up at Calvin’s door and informs him that Bob is actually a rogue agent who killed his partner, stole top secret satellite codes, and is now aiming to destroy the world.

Though the plot may not bring anything new to the table (nebbish guy reluctantly enters world of guns and bad guys, loveable hero may or may not be nefarious), it doesn’t detract at all from the highly funny script, inspired direction, and the memorable performances of its cast.

Hart isn’t known for his especially subtle approach to comedy, but he wisely toned things down somewhat here, (smartly) realizing that he doesn’t need to be a manic tasmanian devil all the time. It’s Johnson, though, who completely steals the show. He’s given us glimpses of his comedy chops in the past (The Other Guys comes to mind), but Central Intelligence marks the first time he’s been given the chance to show off his funny bone. Who knew The Rock had such spot-on comic timing?

Behind the scenes, director Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers) continues his streak of putting together wildly (and surprisingly) entertaining movies from concepts that frankly should have been DOA. There are more than a handful of clever moments in Central Intelligence that may have, in other director’s hands, fallen flat. Here, though, they only add to the comedy--none more than the handful of times Stone hilariously appears out of nowhere to be by Calvin’s side, making the poor guy’s head spin. Thurber also makes the most of a couple of high-profile cameos, dropping the perfect people strategically throughout the film.


Sure the script by Thurber (along with The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen) occasionally relies on cliche a bit more than it needs to, but when a film’s cast and director step up as much as they do in Central Intelligence, any shortfalls are easily forgiven and forgotten. It’s even more fun than unicorns and fanny packs.


4/5 stars

'Central Intelligence' trailer


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)