(PG-13; 114 minutes; Warner Bros.): Dumb in all the right ways, and also a bit smarter than you might expect. It jams together two frequently incompatible Hollywood modes – the comedy and the action movie – a ’90s nostalgia trip, a rambunctious spy thriller and a knucklehead bromance rolled into one. The movie’s stars, Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, a game and likable odd-couple pairing.
And so Hart plays Calvin, a mopey accountant who’s not looking forward to his 20-year high school reunion. In high school, Robby (Johnson) was an overweight, over-bullied outcast shown a kindness by Calvin – an act that Robby hasn’t forgotten when he suddenly resurfaces two decades later — now slimmed down, sporting a big grin and an even bigger set of muscles.
The plot is at once nonsensically busy and fairly predictable – Robby is a rogue CIA agent who needs Calvin’s mad accounting skills to track down a particularly lazy MacGuffin. Perhaps the most disarming conceit of “Central Intelligence” is that Calvin and Bob’s banter, even at its most combative, is predicated on a kind of mutual admiration.
Contains crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language. Los Angeles Times
‘Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates’
(R; 98 minutes; 20th Century Fox): Starring Adam Devine and Zac Efron as the titular duo, “Dates” is uproarious and flamboyantly raunchy, utterly stupid yet also occasionally winning. You’ll laugh, but you might feel bad for doing it.
It opens as Mike and Dave are preparing for the wedding of their beloved little sister. Convinced that the brothers will ruin yet another classy affair, Mike and Dave’s parents require them to bring female companions, assuming this will keep them from their usual attention-seeking antics.
One viral Craigslist ad later, they end up with two women (Aubrey Plazy, Anna Kendrick) pretending to be respectable, but they are actually recently fired waitresses who spend their days drinking, smoking weed and getting into trouble. The two women are instigators, setting off a series of events that include a bad Ecstasy trip, a horse stampede and an ATV accident.
Oddly enough, the movie has a pseudo-feminist heart. The message, which has all the subtlety of a slap to the face, is that girls can be just as grotesque, offensive and self-centered as guys. It’s bizarre and vulgar, but also too funny to resist.
Contains crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some graphic nudity. Washington Post
‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’
(PG-13; 101; Piki Films): In Taika Waititi’s endearingly playful tale set in the New Zealand bush, Ricky is sent to live with foster parents Bella and Hec Faulkner on their farm, and it’s not exactly a match made in heaven. The sullen preteen takes one lap around the house and circles straight back into the police car he arrived in. In time, though, he settles in, eventually joining Hec on an epic journey through the wilderness while eluding the predatory clutches of social services, vigilante do-gooders and well-armed police and military squads.
As portrayed by Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, Ricky and Hec slip easily into kid-and-curmudgeon camaraderie, with Dennison making the most of his stout frame and Neill still evincing the handsomeness that made him a heartthrob in “My Brilliant Career,” even if it’s buried here under a bushy white beard and a perpetual scowl.
Even when it dispenses with realism altogether, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” conveys important truths about the will and sheer endurance it takes to make a family.
Contains thematic elements including violent content, and for some language. Washington Post
Also out Sept. 27
- “The Shallows”
- “The Neon Demon”
- “Barbarians Rising”
- “Edge of Winter”
- “Monster High: Welcome to Monster High”
- “Grimm: Season 5”
- “Reign: Season 3”
- “The Catch: Season 1”