CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE God bless you, the Rock.

"OH YEAH, I'm big into 'corns," says Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), who's wearing a t-shirt with a unicorn on it and is delighted to talk about the magical creatures. He's also happy to talk about his favorite movie, Sixteen Candles, his jorts, and how he's spent the past 20 years idolizing Calvin (Kevin Hart), the only guy who wasn't a dick to him in high school. While Calvin was the coolest kid in school, see, Bob was dorky and fat and bullied (we witness this, naturally, in a flashback featuring the Rock, CGI-enfattened). But now Bob looks like the Rock, and he's in the CIA, and he needs Calvin's help, so: Central Intelligence, a mediocre comedy made enjoyable by the Rock, who, yet again, proves he can make anything enjoyable. The Rock is more magical than unicorns.

Support The Portland Mercury

It's a good thing Central Intelligence has Johnson and Hart, because otherwise, it doesn't have much: Naming Kevin Hart's character "Calvin" and the Rock's character "Stone," along with references to Hercules and the Rock's fanny pack, is about as clever as the script gets. But Johnson and Hart are a funny and likeable odd couple, with the Rock doing his charming, goofy action hero thing and Hart doing his twitchy screeching thing. One wishes they were in a better movie—one that'd let them just hang out and have fun, rather that one that wastes long stretches of time on a stupid espionage plot.

Central Intelligence is a lot better when it gives Johnson and Hart space to riff—and, unexpectedly, when it gets all emotional. Seeing Bob and Calvin chat and joke about how their lives turned out differently than expected proves surprisingly sweet, especially for anyone who had a miserable time in high school. And then, you know, some bad guys attack, and the Rock punches 'em and Hart hyperventilates, and it's back to formula.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30