Central Intelligence is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. The film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as two old high school friends who go on the run after one of them joins the CIA in order to save the world from a terrorist who has an intention to sell satellite codes.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rawson Marshall Thurber|
|Box office||$217 million|
The film premiered in Los Angeles on June 10, 2016, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 17, 2016. Central Intelligence received positive reviews with praise for Hart and Johnson's performances but criticism of the script. The film grossed $217 million worldwide against its $50 million budget.
In 1996, star athlete Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner is being honored at his high school. Halfway through Calvin's speech, a group of bullies led by Trevor Olson throw the nude morbidly obese Robbie Wheirdicht into the hall where the assembly is taking place. Only Joyner and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson, are sympathetic towards Wheirdicht, Joyner going as far as to quickly cover Wheirdicht in his Varsity Jacket. Wheirdicht thanks Calvin and flees in embarrassment.
Twenty years later, Joyner is married to Maggie and works as a forensic accountant but is dissatisfied with his career. Maggie suggests they see a therapist to salvage their deteriorating marriage. At work, Joyner receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone, who invites Joyner to meet at a bar. Bob Stone reveals himself to be Robbie Wheirdicht. Joyner is shocked to see that Wheirdicht has transformed into a muscular, confident man with advanced hand-to-hand fighting skills. Stone asks Joyner to review some online transactions, and Joyner discovers a multimillion-dollar auction with bidders from radical countries, with the final bids to conclude the following day. Stone avoids Joyner's questions and spends the night on his couch.
The next morning, a team of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris arrive at Joyner's house in search of Stone, who escapes. Harris tells Joyner that Stone is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Soon after, Stone abducts Joyner and explains that he is trying to stop a criminal known as the Black Badger from selling the codes but needs Joyner's skills to find the coordinates of the deal's location. After an attack by a bounty hunter, Joyner flees and calls Maggie, telling her to meet him at the marriage counselor's office. Harris intercepts him and tells him that Stone murdered his partner Phil Stanton and is the Black Badger himself. She warns him to refrain from telling Maggie and gives him a device to alert them to Stone's location. Joyner then arrives for marriage counseling, where he finds Stone posing as the counselor.
Stone convinces Joyner to help him, and Joyner sets up a meeting with Trevor Olson, who is able to track the offshore account for the auction, so they can get the deal's location. At first, Olson apologizes for his misdeed in high school saying he has found God, only to admit he was lying, laughs in their faces, and bullies Stone again. Harris calls Joyner and threatens to arrest Maggie if he fails to help them detain Stone. Joyner reluctantly betrays Stone, and the CIA arrests him. As Harris tortures Stone to get him to confess, Joyner decides to help Stone escape. Joyner finds that the deal is happening in Boston and helps Stone steal a plane. At an underground parking garage, where the deal is assumed to be taking place, Stone enters alone, while Joyner sees Harris entering a short while later. He mistakenly assumes that she is the Black Badger and runs after her but finds Stone meeting with the buyer and claiming to be the Black Badger. Stone shoots Joyner, grazing his neck, to keep him safe.
Phil Stanton arrives, revealing that he is alive, and claims he is the real Black Badger. The buyer attempts to retrieve codes from both Stone and Stanton, but the CIA arrives and a shootout begins, while Joyner grabs both codes and runs outside. He encounters Stone and Stanton, who engage in combat. Unable to decide who is the criminal, Joyner aims blindly and shoots Stone, only for Stanton to confess that he is the Black Badger and that Stone is innocent. Joyner causes a distraction that allows Stone to rip Stanton's throat out, killing him. The two deliver the codes to Harris, who then drops them off at their high school reunion, where Joyner reconciles with Maggie. Stone is announced as the Homecoming King, with Joyner revealing to Maggie that he hacked the voting system to ensure Stone's win. Olson attempts to bully Stone a third time, but Stone knocks him out. As Stone delivers his speech, he relives his most embarrassing high-school moment and takes off all his clothes confidently. He walks off stage to unite with his high-school crush Darla McGuckian.
Before the ending credits, Maggie is pregnant and Joyner has joined the CIA. As a gift for his first day on the job, Stone gives Joyner back his varsity jacket from high school, which Stone had kept. The two friends climb into Stone's truck and drive off to begin the work day.
- Dwayne Johnson as Bob Stone / Robbie Weirdicht: A former bullied, overweight, friendless high school student-turned-big bodied CIA agent.
- Sione Kelepi as Young Robbie Wheirdicht
- Kevin Hart as Calvin Joyner: A former star athlete that went to Robbie's high school, now working as an accountant.
- Amy Ryan as Agent Pamela Harris: A CIA agent who suspects Bob is a rogue agent.
- Aaron Paul as Phil Stanton: Bob's former partner who's believed to be dead after being killed in action.
- Danielle Nicolet as Maggie Joyner: Calvin's high school sweetheart now turned wife.
- Timothy John Smith as Agent Nick Cooper.
- Megan Park as the waitress in the bar.
- Thomas Kretschmann as the buyer: A man who wants to buy US satellite codes.
- Jason Bateman as Trevor: A former high school student who bullied Robbie in the past.
- Dylan Boyack as Young Trevor
- Melissa McCarthy as Darla (uncredited): Robbie's high school crush.
- Kumail Nanjiani as Jared: the airport security guard.
The script was greenlit by Universal Pictures in 2010, and Thurber was selected to direct and started to write the script together with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. Before production began, Thurber convinced New Line Cinema to buy the script and the studio became the film's domestic distributor through Warner Bros. That year, Dwayne Johnson was cast alongside Kevin Hart.
Principal photography began on May 6, 2015, and took place in Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout various Massachusetts locations, including Boston, Burlington, Lynn, Middleton, Winchester and Quincy. Principal photography ended in July 2015. To promote the film, Johnson and Hart had an Instagram war against each other on set.
The film premiered at the Regency Village Theater on June 10, 2016. Warner Bros. handled distribution in the United States, where the film opened on June 17, 2016, while Universal covered global distribution, as the film was released between June and July 2016.
Central Intelligence was released on Digital HD on September 13, 2016, before being released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on September 27, 2016.
Central Intelligence grossed $127.4 million in North America and $89.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $217 million, against a budget of $50 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $52 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
Central Intelligence opened on June 17, 2016, alongside Finding Dory and was projected to gross around $30 million from 3,508 theaters in its opening weekend. The film grossed $1.8 million from its Thursday previews and $13 million on its first day. The film went on to gross $35.5 million, finishing second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Finding Dory ($135.1 million).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 184 reviews with an average rating of 5.76/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score and a 55% "definite recommend".
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "If you're expecting the story threads to cohere, you're in the wrong multiplex. Central Intelligence always takes the lazy way out. You go along for the ride because Hart and Johnson promise something they can't deliver: a movie as funny as they are." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the film as a "shambolic high-concept farce that doubles as a cautionary tale of where studio comedies go wrong," writing, "In spots as indifferent and self-indulgent as any latter-day Adam Sandler production ... , [Intelligence] switches back and forth from snail-paced to incoherently over-stuffed on a moment’s notice, with no in-between mode." Keith Phipps of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying, "It all adds up to the sort of breezy, undemanding comedy that fits nicely into the summer months, and plays beautifully in endless cable repeats."
|Critics' Choice Awards||Best Comedy||Central Intelligence||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Comedy||Dwayne Johnson||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Comedy||"Trailer 1"||Nominated|||
|Best Comedy Poster||"Big Johnson Teaser"||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite BFFs (Best Friends Forever)||Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart||Won|||
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedic Movie||Central Intelligence||Nominated|||
|Favorite Comedic Movie Actor||Kevin Hart||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer Movie||Central Intelligence||Nominated|||
|Choice Summer Movie Actor||Kevin Hart||Won|
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