Central Intelligence

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Central Intelligence Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Action-comedy is charming but predictable; some violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 81 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the action-movie chaos (and sometimes-raunchy humor) is the notion that kindness and loyalty trump material success.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters cause their share of chaos on their mission against the bad guys, but they're decent people. More important han being popular in high school, Calvin was empathetic. As an adult, he's a bit more jaded, but he still seems able to tap into a wellspring of sympathy for people who are having a hard time. And Robert/Bob hasn't let a history of being the victim of bullying stamp out his sense of wonder and gratitude. 


Intense, explosive action-movie fight sequences; the main characters are involved in shoot-outs, throw people out windows, break bones, and more. One scene includes the image of a severed ear. In a high school scene, bullies converge on a classmate and throw him naked into the center of a basketball court. 


Footage from raunchy websites is shown; a few sex/genitalia jokes; brief kissing. A teenager is shown dancing naked in the shower, his bare backside there for all to see. 


One use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "d--k," "p---y," "bitch," "a--hole," "hell," "Goddamn," "Jesus Christ," "stupid," and more.


Products/brands seen include Ford, Chevrolet, Windex, Starburst candy, Stella Artois beer, and Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. At one point, two friends drink shots at a bar. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Central Intelligence is an unoriginal but sometimes charming buddy action-comedy starring Kevin Hart and action star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. One main character is a CIA agent trying to foil an international plot, so you can expect a heavy helping of violence, including fights, shoot-outs, broken bones, a severed ear, people being thrown out windows, and more. There are also some cruel high school-set scenes: Bullies converge on a classmate and throw him naked into the center of a basketball court. Language includes "s--t," "a--hole," and more, plus one use of "f--k." Character kiss, jokes can get racy, some raunchy YouTube clips are shown on a computer screen, and one scene shows the bare backside of a character dancing in the shower.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous November 20, 2018

The butt review

Central intelligence is a awesome movie with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin hart. The movie has some action with guns, and some funny scenes. Some cussing and a bit o... Continue reading
Parent Written bylmb1234 June 30, 2016

If you want to make a rated R movie...

It was very funny sometimes. But the creators should have just made it a rated R movie. It pushed all the boundaries of sexual language and nudity.

If you wan... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviedude1234 January 24, 2019

Honestly this movie should be rated R.

There is a lot of language, and tons of violence. There is a lot of adult content in this movie that kids would'nt understand. I would watch this movie bef... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2017

Great film!

It's slightly confusing because the main characters seem to keep switching sides.
I really enjoyed the action and storyline.

What's the story?

In CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, Calvin Joiner (Kevin Hart) isn't looking forward to his 20th high school reunion. Never mind that he was the most popular kid in school when he graduated, ruling student government, track, academics, and pretty much everything else. Now, at 38, he feels far from successful, stuck in an accounting job that he's good at but doesn't love and waiting to do something great. His wife, Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), thinks he's having a mid-life crisis and insists they see a therapist. Then comes a Facebook friend request from Bob Stone (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), AKA Robert Weirdicht, who became notorious in high school as the butt of a really mean prank: When a bunch of guys threw him, naked, into the middle of the gym floor during an assembly, only Calvin helped him out. Now Bob -- a CIA agent who's never forgotten Calvin's kindness -- wants Calvin to go to the reunion, but not without a detour that has them chasing "bad guys" supposedly involved in a global conspiracy. Bob may no longer be the scared, overweight teen he once was, but is he really the good guy he says he is?

Is it any good?

By now, Hart's signature patter ought to have grown tiresome, but somehow that's not the case in this film. He talks so much in some scenes that, no matter how hard you resist, he wins you over by the time he utters his last sentence. And Johnson is so winning in his awkwardness, earnestness, and general big-heartedness that audiences will almost be able to forgive his lack of range.

That said, Central Intelligence has plenty of holes, and it drags many of the jokes out, ruining their momentum. But the chemistry between the two leads is unmistakable, elevating an otherwise predictable script. See it for Hart and Johnson, but be ready for a formulaic -- albeit sometimes funny -- ride.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Central Intelligence. How does the movie's comedic tone affect its impact? Are all types of media violence created equal?

  • What role does bullying play in the story? How does it affect the characters? How did Calvin's reaction impact Bob, both in the short term and later in his life? How did it demonstrate empathy?

  • What roles do the women in this film play? Are they fully realized characters? Why or why not?

  • Talk about buddy comedies: What makes them work (or not)? Does Central Intelligence break new ground in the genre? Does it have to?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and comedy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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