Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.

Central Intelligence (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Central High School, Woodberry, MD 1996:

Boys Locker Room

Fat Robbie Weirdicht (CGI-inflated Dwayne Johnson) is singing in the shower, oblivious to his surroundings. Trouble­maker Trevor (Dylan Boyack) and his pals summarily abduct the kid (“Let's wreck him”) and deposit him naked on the floor of the all-school assembly just as black senior Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner—two times class president, captain of the track team, president of the drama club—is being congratulated from the stands by his pretty girl­friend Maggie Johnson on having received the award for Most Likely to Succeed. While every­one is in shock, Calvin gives Robbie his letter­man jacket to cover him­self with.

Present Day (2016)

Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) and his wife Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) having “got hitched right after high school” are now struggling with their (still childless) marriage. Calvin works as a low level accountant at Hawthorne Firm Accounting. He'd “peaked in high school” and gone down­hill from there. He gets an e-mail notice for “my twentieth high school reunion” and a Facebook ‘friend request’ from a mysterious Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) who turns out to be Robbie with a name change and a body-builder's physique. They go out for a drink at a white bar on ‘Macaroni Night’ where four rednecks pick a fight with the one black in the place & his imposing but outnumbered friend. Turns out “Bob” has learned some moves.

Bob has, it seems, gone rogue from the CIA. He persuades a reluctant Calvinto use his computer and his accounting skills to help him track down a mysterious ‘Black Badger’ who's stolen the US satellite encryption keys, intending to sell them to the highest bidder. CIA Agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) with some heavy duty backup are pursuing the rogue agent thinking he him­self is the ‘Black Badger’. Calvin hardly knows what to think, much less how to defend him­­self, as there follows a cloak-and-dagger plot mixed in with the comedy, and all this in the looming shadow of the class reunion.


CI suggests spacial relations, from the “Central” in the movie title, in the agency's name, in the school's name (Central High) and in the school mascot depicted on a wall display in the auditorium: “Central Centaurs”. Geographically, centaurs were mythical man-horse creatures supposedly inhabiting the mountains of Thessaly, Greece. We can piece together in the movie the route of a wet Robbie taken from the boys locker room, out the door, down the hall and into the auditorium. On a world map going east from Thessaly, Greece, across the Aegean Sea, through Turkey up to the border of Iran, we'd come to the Mountains of Ararat. That's where Noah's ark beached, Gen. 8:4, after having its own shower.

In CI we have animal references. There's the spy code named ‘… badger’, the inflatable ape in front of the Hawthorne building, the snake in the portable cooler—an ‘ark’ being just a water­proof box—, the team name centaurs, and the sky blue unicorn T–shirt Bob wears. This last also has a little rain­bow on it reminiscent of the sign God gave Noah, (Gen. 9:13) “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Bob on an airplane trip encouraged Calvin and Maggie to have children, as was the plan for Noah's off­spring, (Gen. 9:1) “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” This movie is evidently influenced by some deep racial memory of Noah's people, (Gen. 11:2) “as they journeyed from the east.”

When Calvin questions Maggie if she remembers Robbie from high school, she draws a blank until he mentions the time Robbie was thrown butt naked onto the floor of the assembly. Every­one remembers that. There's a similar incident occurred with Noah after the Flood, Gen. 9:20-22, where Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his son Ham who brazenly viewed him so. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. Canaan in Ham's line was probably singled out for mention because of the Canaanites' later dealings with the Semitic Israelites. More germane to modern times is perhaps the lineage of Cush. Cush was also a son of Ham (Gen. 10:6), settling in Africa. Cush is Hebrew meaning black. Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62).

In this movie by analogy Robbie would represent Noah who got viewed naked. Trevor is Ham who humiliated him and was cursed by Noah to a slave's existence of his lineage. In the movie Bob just says, “I hate bullies!” Trevor (Jason Bateman)—who is White—in the movie does service to the other principals providing them with needed information to track ‘The Badger’. Calvin—in the movie a black—covered the naked body of Robbie and received the award of Most Likely to Succeed. He represents Semitic Shem who received the blessing from Noah and shared it with Japheth, as did Calvin with Maggie.

This trope might be confusing, but at least it's straightforward. Then come the role reversals. Bob Stone masquerades as Dr. Dan for the couple's therapy session. There he does some therapeutic role playing with Calvin, in which “Dr. Dan” pretends to be Maggie relating to Calvin. Bob Stone exudes such masculinity that Calvin balks resulting in Maggie getting offended who just sees it as a role. It gets worse. Trevor is a Scien­tologist, level 3, “clear as shit.” Being “clear” in Scien­tology means he's over­come all his hang-ups. Calvin at first refused therapy because, “Honey, black people don't go to therapists. We go to barber­shops.” So the cursed White bully in the movie role gets identified with the cursed black sons of Ham in the real world. When the “Most Likely to Succeed” senior gets passed over for promotion, we'd feel some­thing was amiss, except his actual Negroid features—black skin, kinky hair, puffy lips, and “not work­place appropriate” long cock—cause us to pass it off as business as usual, for a White assistant to get promoted over a miscast Negro.

What it comes down to is Noah has violated our political correctness. Noah in Thessaly, Greece. Greece being the birth­place of democracy. Democracy in which all men are created equal, or at least deserving a level playing field. But the playing field in this movie is the polished gym floor of the auditorium, on which bullies deposited a naked nerd. The principal summed it up saying, “Well, there's no coming back from that.” We're not going to success­fully get back to some kind of Greek idealistic scheme with­out the bully being floored. There's some kind of cosmic conflict at play here where we're hard put to determine who is really the treasonous ‘black badger’. “He's the bad guy. I'm the good guy.” To use an analogy from author Henry Meigs, “the yakuza … weren't really that bad, he whispered, and told how they had helped put down the Railroad Strike riots and other troubles after the war's end when the Americans came in [to Japan] with their ideas of equality and freedom of speech. ‘Wasn't for them we might all be Communists now’” (153).

The reunion features an appearance by Robbie's high school love interest Darla McDuction (Melissa McCarthy cameo), the girl with the lazy eye. If dim eye­sight can be a metaphor for old age, then she might reflect Noah's wife who was considerably older than Noah and did not have any off­spring after the Flood and perhaps a good deal before the Flood either. That's led to speculation that Noah's youngest son Ham could have been born from a servant girl—a common custom in that day. That's beyond the scope of this review but was discussed in my review of “10 Clover­field Lane.

Production Values

This film, “” (2016) was directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Thurber co-wrote the script with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen. “Central Intelligence” stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Danielle Nicolet. The two leading men have little to do, but both demonstrate expert comedic timing and riotous quirks. Johnson is the unhinged man-child and Hart the shaky straight man. Both excel in slapstick, chemistry, and frenzied repartee. Even some of their action scenes are engaging though not edited well enough for us to follow in detail. Their ‘role reversal’ from type works great. Amy Ryan does a swell job, too, as cold CIA agent Pamela Harris on the heels of Bob Stone.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language. There are several blooper scenes shown during the closing credits, including one scene of the fire department temporarily closing down filming for reasons unknown.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Central Intelligence” is a twisted comedy that doesn't try too hard to make you laugh. A nervous lead is one of its chief draw­backs, though he has reason to be nervous. It avoids petty politics and shuns most racial jokes even when they'd seem appropriate. It delivers pretty much what you'd expect from the trailer.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

Meigs, Henry. Gate of the Tigers. New York: Viking Penguin, 1992. Print.