Tag: kevin hart

Central Intelligence

by on Apr.02, 2017, under Movie Reviews

central intelligenceI had a really good streak of some pretty amazing films to review lately, I’m afraid the streak has ended as I’ve hit a number of “meh” films, Central Intelligence being one of those experiences. While the comedy has its moments, the awkwardness of the film’s humor and some of the actor’s deliveries got a bit in the way of the funny.

The story centers around Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) an accountant who, taking stock of his life as his class reunion approaches, realizes he didn’t turn out to be the most-successful-whatever he was supposed to be according to everyone that loved him in high school. Enter the most awkward kid in school Robbie Weirdicht (get it?) who worships Calvin ever since he came to his aid during an embarrassing event as a victim of some bullies. Only now, he’s Bob Stone, CIA agent, luring Calvin into helping him crack a case of international intrigue and danger. Yep, that’s the script, really. The way it ends is equally cliche’ and even less believable.

Granted, films like this aren’t here to crack new cinematic ground, they’re just here for fun, which is what you’ll generally get here in a very predictable package. I’ll give the film props for trying to add some ingenuity through the Bob Stone character but that’s also where it goes off the rails. Bob Stone is supposed to be the weird angle to Calvin Joyner’s straight line in terms of character dynamics. And he is weird but not in a good way, he comes off a little off kilter and creepy sometimes when I’m not so sure he’s supposed to be like that. Part of my confusion stems from the delivery of Dwayne Johnson who as Stone is trying to get over his childhood traumas while also performing the duties of super spy CIA operative. Strangely, he’s savant-like in that he can orchestrate kicking the ass of numerous guys at one time (while wearing a unicorn shirt) but then revert to being the fat kid when confronted by his nemesis from 12th grade.

Johnson’s portrayal seems forced at times in terms of trying to generate a socially awkward character (which is the opposite of his wrestling persona “The Rock”). While Johnson might be one of the highest paid actors out there at the moment, he still could use some acting lessons. Kevin Hart is Kevin Hart so you know what to expect. The rest of the lineup is fine but it’s all pretty standard delivery. The lineup includes Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, and Aaron Paul.

If you have some time to kill and want some filler, then, well, meh…

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Get Hard

by on Dec.20, 2015, under Movie Reviews

get hardWill Ferrell and Kevin Hart team up in this comedy about a millionaire, falsely convicted of crimes he didn’t commit, having to prepare for his time in the big house while he tries to clear his name. While topically centered around white collar greed, don’t expect any kind of originality here as the film heavily borrows from films like Trading Places. Ferrell plays the dethroned millionaire James King while Hart plays the guy who cleans his car and helps him train for life in the slammer. Trouble is, Hart’s character has never been to prison…

The plot largely serves to set up the training gags and while it’s funny to see Ferrell’s character be put through the hilarious paces of his prep work (take note of “kiestering”), the premise is stretched a bit thin as the film starts to rely too much on the gags to the point of the dilution of the story. More heart to this film would’ve been a good ingredient to add while dialing back a little on the schtick. Even though the film does have its moments, I didn’t find there were a lot of laugh-out-loud points in the experience.

My concern here is that Ferrell is going in the direction of Adam Sandler in that he’s fallen into a cycle of cranking out formulaic comedies that just regurgitate films we’ve seen before only with contemporary cultural references. Hopefully that’s not the case as I like a lot of Ferrell’s work alongside his production partner Gary Sanchez. We’ll have to see what they do next…

Overall, the film is ok but not great mostly due to the formulaic approach of the movie and mediocre writing. The actors are all decent with the standout for me being Kevin Hart who has a lot more flexibility than I gave him credit for initially. He had more funny moments for me than Ferrell who was phoning in a lot of repeat gags we’ve seen him do in the past. The lineup includes Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Paul Ben-Victor, and John Mayer.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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