Guest Post by Dylan O’Connell
This movie will forever be immortalized as the one my brother Christopher auditioned for. The only details we had was the name of the movie, The Rock was in it, and Chris was auditioning to play a high schooler; this led to much debate as to the plot of the film. We theorized a 21 Jump Street style movie with The Rock going undercover as the most badass teacher of all time. You’re welcome for that idea, Hollywood. I expect credit.
Twenty years after their eventful high school graduation, Robbie Weirdicht (The Rock) surprises Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) by messaging him on Facebook out of the blue (which is super unrealistic because Hart accepts the friend request even though it’s a name he doesn’t recognize; at least they call him out on it later). They get together, share a couple of beers, The Rock stays the night at Hart’s house, and the next morning the confusion begins as the CIA proceeds to try to arrest their agent gone rogue…or has he been set up?
The true villain is something that remains elusive throughout the movie and the audience is constantly guessing as to who it is up to the very end. But, it does start to wear thin at points. This constant mystery is a welcome release from a few jokes that fall short and some shaky action sequences (which is my movie pet peeve). However, the film only got better as it progressed with good humor and action from both Hart and The Rock.
The pair of The Rock and Kevin Hart is surprisingly amazing. Even though Hart is playing the same character that he always is and delivers the same humor that he always has, the quirks that Robbie Weirdicht has makes their interactions entertaining. The presence of The Rock elevates the partnered scenes above any other where Hart interacts with someone else. Quick note, Weirdicht is a great, really stupid name that I do not support as an attempt at humor.
Two of the greatest qualities of this movie are its theme and unexpected celebrity appearances. First, it has a clear anti-bullying message, though it gets muddled by the conspiracy and the conflict with the CIA; I wish it had focused on one or the other. The conspiracy is just a driving force for short bursts of action, comedic moments, and exposing the effects of bullying, but it feels all muddled together.
Second, the other famous actors in the movie were welcome surprises that I did not expect, but you will if you read this review. My personal favorite was Aaron Paul, but that’s just because I have not seen him in anything I really liked since Breaking Bad.
This movie is okay; it doesn‘t have a great plot and it feels inconsistent and muddled, but it does have a commendable anti-bullying theme at its core supported by enough humor and action to counteract it. Definite rental.
2 ½ out of 4 stars.