In his new action comedy film “Central Intelligence,” actor comedian Kevin Hart plays “Calvin,” a former enviable and “cool” popular high school kid who upon the eve of his high school reunion, has morphed into a not so enviable and not so cool adult accountant.
It is a complete reversal of Dwayne Johnson’s character Bob, a bullied and largely unnoticed high school geek who has changed himself into a lethal CIA agent via hard training and a fanatical exercise regimen.
Calvin believes that he could use a little more of Bob’s adult cool factor to spice up his life.
However, while “Central Intelligence” takes a hard-line against school bullying in a very funny but heartfelt way, Hart, as the father of two children himself, believes that sometimes the stance that parents and schools can take towards conflict can be a bit too astringent.
Sometimes it leads to over sanitizing situations to the harm of children, who will need to be able to deal with difficulty as adults.
“I believe in the whole anti bullying thing,” stated Hart. “As a kid, I think you need a little drama. I don’t like the people that try to make these kids’ lives perfect. You need to build character – and you know, within situations that make you uncomfortable come life lessons.”
To that end, in his usual hilariously raw but brutally honest way, Hart went on to reveal one particularly uncomfortable character building moment that he and his brother witnessed as a young boys via Hart’s irrepressible father.
“My dad says, ‘let me tell you something – you don’t let nobody push you around,’ and he got into it with this guy, and me and my brother, we were in the car,” remembered Hart.
“(My dad) said, ‘you handle yourself at all times. You be a man,’ and I remember my dad getting out of this car. This guy hit my dad with two of the hardest punches I’ve ever seen in my life. It was so fast. ‘Pap! Pap!’ And he said something like, ‘I didn’t want to do this in front of your kids.’
“And it was like me and my brother were just in the car. We were looking at him and my dad got in the car and closed the door and he started driving. It was just quiet, like, I guess he not going to say nothing about it. He’s just gonna let this go and just act like he won in a couple of days.
“So the lesson I learned there was duck, get out of the way if it’s coming,” Kevin Hart said. “But it was definitely a lesson that he tried to give that went backwards.”
So, case in point, some lessons don’t need much of a filter – even if they don’t turn out the way that the original teacher intended.
“Central Intelligence” starring Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Aaron Paul, Amy Ryan and Danielle Nicolet opens in theaters nationwide on June 17, 2016.