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Reel Reviews: Double feature: Dory vs. the CIA

Taylor and Howe give their take on Finding Dory and Central Intelligence.
Bob (Dwayne Johnson) and Calvin (Kevin Hart) are on the case in Central Intelligence.

There has been two-for-one Reel Reviews with Taylor & Howe in the past, due to the similar circumstances of different films having been viewed by yours faithfully.

Here now we find ourselves in just such a predicament: Mr. Howe has seen Central Intelligence, an odd couple buddy action comedy starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Mr. Taylor has seen Finding Dory, starring a bunch of fish, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks and many others.

TAYLOR: I was curious about Finding Dory, because Finding Nemo was a special film. Not everything Disney or Pixar releases has “instant classic” written all over it, but Nemo did. As usual, I wanted to make sure any gushing praise be relevant.

Of course everyone is going to love Finding Dory! Yes, but are they correct to? It depends on your outlook: Kids are eating it up; parents are having fun too, for the most part. Dory’s anterograde amnesia is occasionally trying. There are the moments of tedium one would expect when spending every waking moment assisting someone, or some fish, they can’t remember 10 seconds ago. Yet, Finding Dory is pleasant.

It’s fun and funny, with the obligatory sad part. It’s kind of what you’d expect from a sequel to Finding Nemo, which may be its flaw.

HOWE:  Talking about flaws, what do Ride Along, Get Hard and Central Intelligence all have in common? Kevin Hart, and that is where the problem lies.

Don’t get me wrong, he may be a great, all-round guy, but funny he is not. I get that his roles are to play someone whiny and scared, but please, Mr. Hart, just stop. In CI,  he just goes on and on, and The Rock is no better, but that could be due to the script, or editing.

There seems to be a backstory to Johnson’s Bob character but it is never fully explained. It does have a few laughs, but they are few and far between and if you want to save yourself a few bob, just watch the trailer and you will see everything you need to know about the movie.

TAYLOR: Things happen quickly in Finding Dory, but there isn’t a lot of happenings. Dory realizes one day that she must have a family and she should try to find her way home. Amnesia prevents her from embarking on her own, so Nemo and his reluctant dad, Marlin (Brooks), assist her. Inevitably they are separated and Dory teams up with a grumpy but loveable octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) who helps her along. Then she finds her home and stays there. Everyone’s happy. Oh, there’s some threats and assistance from characters, new and old, along the way, but nothing that isn’t the ghost in the machine, lazy writing. It’s still a good chowder, just lacking the meat of its predecessor.

HOWE: The only really good thing about CI is that Jason Bateman is in it for a little while. Now this guy is funny. Hart should be taking some pointers from him.

– Taylor gives Finding Dory 3 flounders out of 5.

– Howe gives Central Intelligence 2 bugged cellphones out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are Vernon-based movie enthusiasts who review the latest films in Reel Reviews, Fridays.