The “buddy action comedy” seems like such a simple, obvious formula that it’s always shocking to realize how few examples get it right, the way this one does. Kevin Hart plays Calvin Joyner, an accountant who peaked in high school, but finds his bland middle-age life shaken up by the appearance of former classmate Bob (Dwayne Johnson), once a picked-on fat kid but now seemingly a super-spy with plenty of secrets. The McGuffin of a plot matters little; the A+ chemistry between Hart and Johnson is everything. Johnson in particular does hilarious work, based on how hard it is for Bob to shake the eager-to-please nerd in his soul even once he’s a badass killing machine. Hart’s character feels a bit more like a missed opportunity, but it’s impressive watching him show the comedic range to play straight man to Johnson when the situation calls for it. Throw in action beats with a bit more creativity than you might expect and a few terrific cameos, and the occasional dud joke seems rare indeed, especially when you’re watching the birth of a great comedy team.
Director: Rawson Thurber
Producer: Scott Stuber, Peter Principato, Paul Young, Michael Fottrell, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener, Samuel Brown, Michael Disco, Steven Mnuchin and Ed Helms
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Aaron Paul, Ryan Hansen, Tim Griffin, Timothy Smith, Sione Kelepi, Dylan Boyack, Thomas Kretschmann, Megan Park and Slaine