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Featured Movie Reviews

Central Intelligence

Consistently hilarious and a perfectly executed showcase for its two stars, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE exceeds expectations.

As the film opens twenty years ago, our two main characters are at opposite ends of the high school spectrum. It's the last assembly before graduation and school superstar Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is accepting a national award before the adoring students.

Suddenly, school bullies toss a very naked and very obese student into the middle of the gymnasium. Calvin is the only student not to laugh and hands the terrified young man his letterman's jacket.

Flash forward 20 years and we meet modern day Calvin, a low level forensic accountant passed over yet again for a promotion.

Dreading his 20 year high school reunion and feeling very unworthy of his "most likely to succeed" banner, Calvin is suddenly contacted by Bob Stone, that obese bullied boy, who has now become Dwayne Johnson in all his glory.

There are a hundred great physical references to Hart and Johnson's comparative size, and both play them for maximum impact.

When Bob asks Calvin to take a look at an accounting problem for him, the numbers cruncher is soon pulled into a massive government and global conspiracy. Since it's in the title, it's no spoiler to reveal that Bob is in the CIA, but surprisingly, the film does a great job of creating an exciting thriller that will keep you guessing on just who are the bad guys.

The other thing the film gets right is in its casting. Hart plays against type as the straight man and Johnson becomes the comic lead. Both are having a great time and nail every verbal and physical punch line.

Johnson has been great on SNL in the past, but he shows real comedy gifts here, unafraid to go in any direction to deliver the laughs.

Amy Ryan is terrific as Bob's CIA boss, Jason Bateman is our evil high school bully now grown up, Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) is Bob's former partner at the CIA and Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) has a true comic breakout performance as Calvin's fellow accountant Steve. The man has never met a taser or an opportunity to suck up to the boss he didn't grab. Hansen is hilarious in his small but memorable role.

You KNOW that Bob & Calvin will eventually end up at their high school reunion, but by the time they do, you'll be pleasantly surprised how well its executed and what twists are in store.

Credit screenwriter Ike Barinholtz (MAD TV, The Mindy Project) for crafting a screenplay that elevates a formula beyond expectations.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is far better than it needs to be as a formula movie. Its the rare film that I left HOPING there would be a sequel.

Just like Melissa McCarthy's "Spy", I walked out of the theatre hoping I would see these characters again.

Get ready to have some fun!

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is a laugh filled bulls-eye that gets an A-.

(Make sure and stay for the credits for some very funny bloopers.)

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