‘Central Intelligence’ was almost funny

CARL Joshua Ncube absolutely sizzled, Kevin Hart was almost overshadowed by a Zimbabwean comic, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson nearly stunk up the joint. That is the story of last week’s Ster-Kinekor “Comedy Night”. Believe you me, I never thought I would ever write the above words in my lifetime.No one does Kevin Hart like Kevin Hart does, and as for Dwayne Johnson, I do not think any movie – even one as bad as “Central Intelligence” — can stop The Rock from being The Rock.

Ster-Kinekor deserves a thumbs up for the work they are doing.
Gone are the days when a movie would première around the world and Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe got to watch it after, maybe, a year.

Last week, SK held the première of “Central Intelligence”, an action packed comedy starring Hart and Johnson.
Zimbabwe’s own Carl Joshua Ncube opened proceedings with a ten-minute set that I found to be fresh and quite funny.

The only downside was this obnoxious young couple sitting behind me, whispering that Ncube was “trying to copy Trevor Noah”.
Maybe the kid was trying to impress his bae by pretending to know stand-up. I say, “No, young blood.”

I’m not an avid follower of carl, not yet. But I wish to sum up what I believe he has learnt about the art.
Firstly, originality is key and one can never go wrong by trying to bring in a little personal experience or social commentary to one’s act. The American and English comics do this well.

Unfortunately, we can relate to their experiences because we have assimilated their lifestyles through television and other media.

Every comic gets his or her material from life and it is unfortunate that we do not really appreciate our own.
Carl is trying to fix this. Well done mate.

His set of ZBC’s “News Hour” is hilarious, particularly his impressions of Rueben Barwe and Spencer Banda, the latter being a close friend of mine. Sorry Spencer, but Carl got you.

Carl ensured the night began with a bang and it is sad that the main attraction “Central Intelligence”, could not follow suit.

The film is a classic example of just how important chemistry between two co-stars is, especially in the buddy cop genre.
Calvin Joyner (Hart) is a bored former football jock-turned-accountant forced to re-evaluate his life when his former high school decides to throw a reunion.

Determined not to attend, his life takes a turn when old schoolmate Bob Stone (Johnson) reaches out and the two share a beer or two.

There is quite a history between the two, but Joyner only learns who is really talking to when it’s too late.
What follows is your simple action packed cat and mouse games, “funny” gag wheel and big twist which one would have to be blind and fast asleep not to see coming.

At face value, the film has the makings of a blockbuster: you have a simple tried and tested premise, and two of the biggest Hollywood names right now.

What could go wrong?
Well, for one Johnson cannot act. He has the look and appeal and seems at ease beating up bad guys; but put him in a scene that requires an ounce of talent and you get . . . nothing.

And there was no John Woo or Michael Bay to direct him in the action sequences, so the guy was really out of his element.
In buddy cop movies, the director needs his leads to carry their weight and feed off each other. Hart and Johnson don’t.

Yes, Hart cracks a joke or two and Dwayne beats up a couple of baddies but something just appears off.

And there is virtually nothing left for the film’s supporting cast to do. It is a crying shame too, because I really think Amy Ryan

(Agent Pamela Harris), Danielle Nicolet (Maggie Joyner), Aaron Paul (Phil), Jason Bateman (Trevor) and Melissa McCarthy (Darla) are bog talents.

The last two are unaccredited but come off funnier than the leads.

It goes without saying that Hart is one of the funniest actors on the planet.

His stand up specials are pure gold and over the last couple of years he has become a credible box office bet.

However, how long does Hollywood intend to subject us to one-dimensional, short man jokes and annoying physical comedy?

Even Jim Carrey did “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and Adam Sandler tried branching out with “Click” and “Spanglish”.
Kevin Hart can do more.
Gone are the days when a movie would première around the world and Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe got to watch it after, maybe, a year.

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