A little Hart + one BIG Johnson = one big dumb fun movie.
After reconnecting with an awkward pal (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant (Kevin Hart) is lured into the world of international espionage.
I was a little anxious about seeing this movie. Not quite sure whether I was in the mood for another OTT Hart comedy vehicle. The opening didn’t build my hopes up. A naff high school flashback sequence involving a horrifically superimposed Rock on the body of a dancing fat kid didn’t do anything for me. (No, not like that).
It wasn’t long before the dancing chubster fell victim to a traumatizing high school prank. The only person to help him; Mr Popular and all round achiever Calvin (Hart).
Flash forward back to the present to an older and miserable looking Calvin as he drudges through a mid life crisis, office politics and the joys of accounting. Hart played the straight faced role quite well. And for a moment, the high school reunion and nostalgia subplot could have easily made this a different movie altogether.
BUT this was never going to be that kind of movie and once the Brahma Bull came steam-rolling into Calvin’s lacklustre life like a unicorn T-shirt wearing, bumbag carrying tank, I was sold!
It made a change to see The Rock playing such a dim wit. Bob uses the high school reunion as a chance to catch up. BUT of course while bonding over a shots and a bar brawl (You read that right), we discover that the simple Samoan needs a favour from Calvin. A favour that throws Calvin’s world into chaos with espionage, carnage and a pretty predictable terrorist plot line.
The pair worked really well together and had some cracking one liners. They made a great duo and weren’t afraid to poke at each other. There was also a nice dynamic between them as Bob needs help from the only friend who bothered to help him all those years ago.
The action set pieces were brilliantly choreographed and highly comical as Hart’s unintentional fumbling causes more harm than good. To make matters worse, ol’ Bob might not be telling the whole truth. Calvin’s reluctance and numerous escape attempts from the overbearing and resourceful Bob was hilarious.
I couldn’t help but laugh at Rocky using Hart as a prop. Chucking him in cars, mail carts and out of windows. Mental. Bob’s obsession with Sixteen Candles (That’s right, the Molly Ringwald movie) was a running gag I didn’t expect.
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) played the uptight generic CIA director as well as she could and the writers tried their best to shroud a little mystery over Bob’s intentions. Deliberately making us question his motives. BUT there was only ever going to be one outcome with the loveable dud-head.
The inevitable backstabbing and revelations were tragically too predictable and cut into the zippy pace and laughs, hampering things slightly. I could feel my eyes wandering to my watch.
BUT thankfully some crazy cameos from a surprising cast did enough to bring me back into the mix. I could drop names BUT it would spoil half the fun.
The finale was frenetic, mad and funny. There were some genuine laugh out loud moments and you can’t go wrong with a bit of blooper reel during the end credits.
The story line may have been a little weak and predictable and the pace may have tested in parts BUT it was silly fun and with Hart and Rocky on fine form, I could have think of worst ways to kill the time.
Not quite on the same level as 22 Jump Street BUT definitely worth a shout if you’re in the mood for a shoot em up laugh fest.