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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 26
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Hart, Johnson comedy giants in otherwise forgettable Central Intelligence
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
Now playing


Mild-mannered accountant Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) never imagined just how much his life could change just from the accepting of a friend request from an old high school classmate on Facebook. But when he reconnects with Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) everything in Calvin's life suddenly gets thrown into a gigantic life-sized meat grinder. While 20 years ago he might have been an overweight loser mercilessly picked on by a number of the popular kids, now Bob is a muscular CIA operative who for some strange reasons needs his former classmate's assistance. More than that, he wants to reconnect with Calvin, looks up to him as some sort of big brother, an act of kindness two decades prior leading him to believe their friendship is far stronger than by all accounts it actually is.

The plot of the buddy action comedy Central Intelligence is as silly as one would probably expect it to be, especially when you take into account We're the Millers and Dodgeball director Rawson Marshall Thurber is the person calling all the shots. The script, written by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen (both of 'The Mindy Project'), is a hodgepodge of loosely connected vignettes that help shepherd a story of international terrorism, arms dealing and treason that's as familiar as it is silly. The mechanics of it all are never particularly important, while the destination (Calvin and Bob's high school reunion), is never in doubt. There's not a lot in the way of mystery to any of this endeavor, so expecting a massive surprise to occur is nothing short of a pointless waste of time.

Yet Hart and Johnson, the latter in particular, somehow make sitting through this overlong meandering bit of absurdity remarkably easy to do, the pair showcasing an easygoing chemistry that's consistently winning. As the majority of the movie revolves entirely around them reacting off of one another and figuring out how to navigate any number of various travails they find themselves stranded dealing with, this is unquestionably a very good thing. Their initial reintroduction to one another at a local bar is a total hoot, while a rather long shootout inside Calvin's workplace, is as funny as it is dynamically staged. There is a jovial irresponsibility to Hart and Johnson's antics that's charming, many of their antics getting me to laugh even when I wasn't entirely sure I should have been doing so.

It is a whole lot of nonsense, on that point there isn't a lot of room to maneuver. The script works in a circular fashion. Calvin meets up with Bob, is taken in by his jocular camaraderie, is shocked by his playfully violent abilities, is then subsequently warned to be wary of him by a seasoned, world-weary CIA supervisor (played with gritty tenacity by an underutilized Amy Ryan), and instantly promises to stay away from the guy only to find himself repeating the entire scenario all over again. Through it all, Bob spins a yarn to Calvin involving stolen government secrets, a CIA mole and an international arms merchant, all of which sounds much too outlandish to be true; yet, if it is, it would likely mean unparalleled disaster for the United States military.

I'm finding it difficult to come up with anything substantive to add. Johnson, an undervalued comedian who has no problem making fun of his macho, imposingly masculine persona, is as funny here as he has ever been, making the most of each and every situation as they are presented. As for Hart, while he doesn't do anything we haven't seen before, he's toned down just enough to make his antics palatable, never rising to the state of histrionic obnoxiousness that made him so annoying in films like Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer. Thurber directs with the same relaxed confidence he brought to his previous endeavors, while a steady string of unanticipated cameos does up the wow factor, all of which keeps things somewhat interesting for many of the film's longish 114 minutes.

Personally, I am a little disappointed that Central Intelligence will likely find the audience and the box office that summertime genre compatriot The Nice Guys failed to generate back in May, Shane Black's witty, freewheeling and gloriously vulgar buddy effort the far superior motion picture. Still, Hart and Johnson got me to laugh, their antics just ridiculous enough to keep me entertained. There's fun to be had, and here's hoping if the movie ends up being a massive hit someone writes a better script as it would pertain to the almost certainly inevitable sequel.


PRIDE MONTH EVENTS WITH THREE DOLLAR BILL CINEMA
More to see in Seattle this June than ever before!
For complete information, visit http://www.threedollarbillcinema.org/

QUEER FAN NIGHTS!
We've teamed up with the Northwest Film Forum (1511 12th Ave) for a Pride month series will make you cheer with delight! It's an eclectic mix of fan favorites, hosted by avid queer fans ready to share (and defend) their picks.

Thursday nights at 8pm. Kick off each night with a pre-show happy hour in the theatre lobby starting at 7pm.

June 9 - Horror Night: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (Hosted by Scott & Lance); June 16 - Anna Nicole Smith Night: To the Limit (Hosted by John Criscitello); June 23 - Melodrama Night: Imitation of Life (Hosted by The Lady B)l June 30 - Eurovision Night: Iconic song performances (Hosted by Richard & Kevin).

Tickets: $11 general; $8 student/senior; $6 NWFF and Three Dollar Bill Cinema members.

TWIST OF PRIDE FILM FESTIVAL
The second annual TWIST of Pride Film Festival runs June 15-19.

A part of Seattle PrideFest, this festival features some of the best films and award winners from Three Dollar Bill Cinema's past year as well as new Seattle and World premieres!

June 15 @ Central Cinema (1411 21st Ave), June 16 @ Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave), and June 17-19 @ SIFF Cinema Egyptian Theatre (805 E Pine St).

June 15 (CC) - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars @ 8pm; June 16 (NWFF) - To The Limit @ 8pm; June 17 (Egyptian) - Crocodile Tears @ 7:30pm; Brides to Be (World Premiere) @ 10pm; June 18 (Egyptian) - Best Shorts (Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival/Twist 2015 and Translations Festival faves) @ 12pm; Naz and Maalik (Top Feature Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival/Twist 2015) @ 2pm; Portrait of a Serial Monogamist @ 4:30pm; Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures @ 8pm; Rocky Horror Picture Show @ midnight ($12); June 19 (Egyptian) - Major (Top Documentary Translations Festival 2016) @ 1pm; Last Men Standing (Seattle Premiere) at 4pm; (Robbie) Turner Classic Movies at 7pm.

Festival Pass: $75. Single tickets: $10, except $11 for To The Limit $11 and $12 for Rocky Horror Picture Show. http://www.seattlepridefest.org/twistofpride/

THE GAYZER LASER LIGHT SHOW RETURNS!
After a popular debut in 2015, the Pacific Science Center & Three Dollar Bill Cinema are bringing back the Gayzer Laser Light Show to the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome at Seattle Center!

Start your Saturday night right on June 25, or chill out after Sunday's Pride festivities. It's a collection of hit songs by LGBT artists and icons with a stunning visual display. Fun for all ages!

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 @ 6pm. Tickets available at (800) 664-8775 or via https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/

AND THAT'S NOT ALL...
THE FIERCE AWAKENS

Summer Movies in Cal Anderson Park - Presented by Alaska Airlines

August 5 - Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same; August 12 - Spaceballs; August 19 - Barbarella; August 26 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Mark your calendar for the fiercest Outdoor Cinema series in Seattle! Free admission. Movies begin at dusk.

Courtesy of Three Dollar Bill Cinema








Kristine W to perform at PrideFest main stage at Seattle Center Sunday, June 26
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GLAAD Media Awards Wrap-Up - Part One
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GLAAD Media Awards Wrap-Up - Part Two
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Celebrating Pride Month with Out In Front!
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Arts in Nature Festival

Music, Art & Performance at Seattle's only campground

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Jake Biondi on BOYSTOWN
Season 5

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Seattle Pride is an expression of our Constitutional rights
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Hart, Johnson comedy giants in otherwise forgettable Central Intelligence
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PRIDE MONTH EVENTS WITH THREE DOLLAR BILL CINEMA
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