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Central Intelligence


Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Aaron Paul, Thomas Kretschmann, Jason Bateman

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

The selling slogan nails it: 'Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson'! And the two wildly-contrasted stars let it rip in a lively spy pastiche that careers along, director Thurber allowing little wasted footage.

Things have hardly gone to plan for Calvin (Hart), once the prom king and all-round golden boy of high school, but now an accountant whose assistant has just been promoted over his head.

Out of the blue he gets a call from Ban Stone (Johnson), no longer the fat kid who was unmercifully bullied and humiliated at school, but a towering muscleman who swiftly involves the diminutive Calvin in a bid to thwart a plot to hijack the entire US spy satellite program.

Agents led by Harris (Ryan) are out to capture Stone, a rogue CIA agent, believing him to be the mysterious Black Badger who plans to sell the program's encrypted codes to the highest bidder.

Cue lots of genial mugging from Johnson and a perpetual state of wild panic from Hart, but, even though comedy-thriller fans will easily guess the Badger's identity, the film has lots of amusingly daft moments, including Hart's futile (and painful) attempts to replicate his trademark college 'back flip' and a scene where Johnson pretends to be a therapist hired to put the marriage of Calvin and his wife (Nicolet) back on track.

Plenty of comedic-style action, too, in which our heroes predictably lead charmed lives.

It's unexpectedly fun to be with - with an equally unexpected guest star at the very end.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal (Universal/Warner Brothers/New Line). Colour by Fotokem.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 Jun 2016