CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE [PG-13] C-
Most buddy comedies, especially those of the action-thriller variety, traffic in the notion that the erstwhile partners begin their journey as adversaries – generally a straight-laced rule follower handcuffed, by circumstance, to a rebellious romantic type – and that early friction seems to make sense. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (who co-wrote the “Central Intelligence” screenplay with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen) subverts that notion here, likely to take advantage of the genial charm of his stars, in particular, Dwayne Johnson who overcommits to his character’s affection for the high school hero (Kevin Hart) who eased a moment of humiliation back in the day. Johnson convinces us that a fat high school loser can morph into a rock-hard super-spy, yet still remain soft to the core. It’s just too bad that the narrative is just as squishy as the fat suit he wears in those initial scenes.