Central Intelligence

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Central Intelligence

The one thing that’s been holding back the action movie career of The Rock, AKA Dwayne Johnson, is that he’s too nice. For all his physical bulk he’s simply not plausible as a ruthless killing machine, and his best roles – most notably Pain & Gain – have allowed him to revel in his vulnerable side while still making use of his formidable screen presence. Which pretty much sums up Johnson’s work here.

Playing Bob Stone, a one-time high school loser turned into a lethal CIA agent, he meets up with Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) the star of his high school but now an unhappy and dissatisfied accountant. And boy, is Stone happy to see Joyner; Johnson plays him as basically a human puppydog who just happens to be handy with his fists, while Joyner becomes increasingly freaked out as Stone first insinuated himself into his life then reveals that a): the CIA are after him and b): he needs Joyner’s help to take down a terrorist known as The Black Beaver. That part of the film is your typical action comedy and therefore fairly forgettable; the relationship between the needy, excitable Stone and the kindly but understandably distraught Joyner is consistently well-handled, and easily the best thing about this dopily charming film.