Where To Start With... - October 31, 2016

Central Intelligence: What You Need To Know
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Central Intelligence: What You Need To Know

In any other year, the news that a former wrestler had become Hollywood's highest-paid actor might have been surprising. But in 2016 - a year that has already seen Leicester City win the Premier League, the UK vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump secure the Republican nomination to be the next President of the United States - disbelief had long been suspended by the time it was announced that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson had succeeded in knocking Robert Downey Jr. from the perch he had occupied comfortably for the last three years running. (Downey Jr., for his part, had to make do with a miserly $33 million this year, the poor thing...)

Dwayne Johnson's whopping annual paycheque, thought to be in the region of $64 million, is thanks in large part to lucrative deals for his roles in the Fast & Furious franchise and in Brad Peyton's explosive disaster movie San Andreas. But in between all the high-octane action, Johnson also had time to take on a role with a little more comedic relief. Central Intelligence sees him make the journey from bullied high school outcast to ass-kicking CIA agent and with the film arriving in stores on Monday (October 31st), here's what you can expect from this action-packed comedy...

 

Who's in it?

Co-starring alongside Dwayne Johnson is stand-up comedian turned actor Kevin Hart, while the rest of the cast includes Arrested Development's Jason Bateman, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, The Wire's Amy Ryan and X-Men's Danielle Nicolet.

 

And who's directing?

The superbly-named Rawson Marshall Thunder, who has previously directed Dodgeball and We're the Millers, is the man calling the shots here.

What's the plot?

Calvin Joyner (Hart) is the kid in school that all the other kids want to be like; he's the star of the basketball team, he's dating one of the hottest girls in school and he's been voted the kid most likely to succeed. Then there's Robbie Wierdicht (Johnson), the overweight kid with the unfortunate surname who gets picked on by all the school jocks. In one particularly cruel prank, Robbie is dragged naked from the shower and launched into a packed assembly hall just as Calvin is in the middle of an award acceptance speech. Everyone in the hall howls with laughter except Calvin, who tries to shield Robbie's modesty with his varsity jacket. Robbie is so embarrassed he never returns to the school.

Fast-forward 20 years and Calvin is married to his high school sweetheart, holding down a steady but deeply unsatisfying job as an accountant. On the eve of a high school reunion, he is visited by Robbie, who by now has transformed himself into a 6' 4” beefcake going by the name Bob Stone. What's more, Bob tells Calvin that he's an agent for the CIA and needs Calvin's help getting the bottom of a case.

No sooner has Calvin agreed to help than the CIA raids his home and tells him that Bob has gone rogue, is wanted for murder and treason, and that he intends to sell state secrets to America's enemies. But Bob pleads his innocence and before long Calvin is roped into helping Bob catch those he claims have framed him in order to clear both their names.

 

Does it deliver?

It should come as no surprise that it's Kevin Hart that provides the beating comedic heart in Rawson's film, but Johnson has his moments too and while the occasional gag falls flat, the pair make a pretty impressive comedy double act. If you've enjoyed other films employing Hart's talents like Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer, you'll find plenty of laughs here too. You can find a trailer for the film below...


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