Dwayne Johnson is a big movie star, and that’s an intended pun: these days, his muscles must be acknowledged before a story can commence. Central Intelligence, a reasonably entertaining take on old-school buddy action movies, takes this acknowledgment to new heights: in the vernacular of the movie, it gets meta on our ass.
The gag is that Johnson’s character was the “fat kid” in high school, and everything he does now that he’s forty or so is colored by over-compensating for this. So he’s huuuuge (“I worked out six hours a day for twenty years”) and he’s also the CIA’s most deadly rogue agent – or something like that. Unlike The Nice Guys, the other recent buddy movie throwback, Central Intelligence does not have an important plot. Hell, it doesn’t really have a plot.
What is does have is chemistry between Johnson and Hart, which is the sole and entire reason to see the movie. Who cares what it’s about? They’re in practically every scene together and they play off each other well. There is a surprising amount of gunplay (and death, which I wasn’t expecting); there is a refreshing lack of sentimentality. There’s an anti-bullying message hidden in there somewhere, too, possibly between Johnson’s biceps brachial and scapula. But you can listen to Sia, Rihanna, Swift or Perry for that. See this movie for Da Boyz; they’ll be back soon, in a remake of Jumanji. And the inevitable sequel to Central Intelligence.