By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Action-comedy is charming but predictable; some violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid the action-movie chaos (and sometimes-raunchy humor) is the notion that kindness and loyalty trump material success.
Positive Role Models
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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One use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "d--k," "p---y," "bitch," "a--hole," "hell," "Goddamn," "Jesus Christ," "stupid," and more.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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Where to Watch
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Based on 39 parent reviews
Skip. Don't watch...
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Not that bad compared to the movies my other kids watch
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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?
- In theaters: June 17, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 27, 2016
- Cast: Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul
- Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language
- Last updated: January 12, 2023
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