**1/2 stars (out of four)
The new action comedy Central Intelligence, starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is one of those movies that’s watchable but leaves you feeling like it didn’t fully capitalize on its premise.
On the eve of his 20th high school reunion, an accountant (Hart) is feeling bad about his life. He was a prom king and voted most likely to succeed. Despite a loving wife, he feels he hasn’t lived up to his potential. A former outcast classmate (Johnson), who Hart treated with kindness after a public humiliation, reaches out to him on Facebook. After drinks, it’s revealed that Johnson is a CIA agent on the run who needs Hart’s accounting expertise to help him catch bad guys.
The plot is somewhat reminiscent of the superior 1997 film Grosse Pointe Blank. But while that film had short stretches of action, this one wants to put the spy/action stuff front and center. Unfortunately, it’s at its best when it’s about the men reflecting on their lives. The funniest scene occurs when Johnson and Hart confront Johnson’s former high school tormentor (a star cameo).
Hart does a decent job as the rattled, bewildered straight man and Johnson manages a nice balance of kindness, awkwardness, and creepiness. But the movie would’ve been better served to focus more on their relationship than on the bang-bang stuff, which felt very perfunctory.