CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

— by Jeff Schultz

Forget about the plot; it’s irrelevant, and besides, you’ve seen it a thousand times: the CIA agent on the run, the miniaturized device that everyone’s trying to get hold of, the puzzle as to who’s the good guy, who’s the bad. What you’ll go to see this for is the riffing that ricochets between Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as the former gets sucked unwillingly into the latter’s do-or-die adventure. Hart, of course, is a proven laugh-getter, and watching his inner hero gradually overcome his outer wimp is a treat. The bigger surprise, perhaps, is Johnson, whose goofy earnestness muscles in on his, well, muscles, making him an effective foil. The story is slapdash, characters are introduced and misused or throw away — Amy Ryan’s role is especially nonsensical — but all credit to Jason Bateman for turning up briefly and walking away with his scene (although the vengeance wreaked on him at the end is sloppy and unsatisfying). And there are decent cameos from Aaron Paul and a superstar comic actress (I won’t spoil it).

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