Burn Notice: “Central Intelligence” Wastes the Next Big Comedy Duo’s Potential

All you need is a little Hart, a big Johnson… and a better movie.

This is one of the first comedies I’ve seen in a while where I was legitimately disappointed by the time the ending credits were rolling. I’ve always tempered my expectations with comedies and horror films – they’re the most fickle in terms of quality and I think the most subjective as well – but I genuinely expected Central Intelligence to be a solid flick.

Imagine my surprise when I’m artificially trying to meet my expectations by forcing myself to repeatedly laugh at shitty joke after shitty joke. I mean, on paper, Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should be an unstoppable duo. While I’ve always been a little concerned with Hart’s turn from standup comedian to actor, I’m willing to concede his films are generally acceptable.

And yes, it is becoming increasingly clear that Kevin Hart is the homeless man’s version of Eddie Murphy; nothing he makes will be as good and as iconic as Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, or Norbit, but he’s still a genuinely funny dude. Pairing him with a popular and talented star like The Rock should be a surefire way to make comedy gold.

Besides, if Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell can make it, surely they can too? The answer is… NOPE! I guess not!

Part of the problem has to be how much was given away in the trailer. Seeing what I assume was a CGI version (or just a fat suit, I suppose) of a tubby The Rock was the highlight; people were laughing their asses off when the trailer would come up in previews. After prolonged exposure however, it’s not as funny. Not even close.

Speaking of trailers, they have a chronic problem nowadays where they give too much of the plot away, whether it’s Drive or Terminator: Genisys. Comedy trailers give away too much of the best jokes and horror trailers give away some of the creepiest moments (or some prime jump scares). Central Intelligence wouldn’t be much better if the trailers had been more ambiguous, but it certainly would have helped.

Look, there’s nothing deep about this. It is just a really underwhelming movie that feels like it has no soul. It’s worse than both Ride Along movies so that should speak volumes. I think you could argue it’s probably the most disappointing film of the summer.

You can try to turn your brain off but it isn’t going to help. It’s not one of those movies. It’s simply not enjoyable and that is so disappointing. I know this is in hindsight, but it is truly a troubling sign when people are funnier and more lively when they’re promoting a movie, than in the actual movie itself.

What makes it even sadder is that Central Intelligence isn’t bad enough to be funny in a “good god, this is terrible” kind of way. It’s just a middling action-comedy with two stars barely trying with an incompetent script. In the world of comedy/horror, middling is instant death. You either have to be good, or absolutely atrocious. You can’t tread water, or you’ll end up getting eaten. Maybe by a shark.

I mean, fuck – at least we knew before going into something like Independence Day: Resurgence that it would suck ass, you know?

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