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It’s been a long time coming for the spy comedy Central Intelligence, which has gone through several different writers and directors, all while attached to Ed Helms, who was in the middle of his Office run and The Hangover trilogy at the time. All of that is done now, and Helms now has a new director to work with in Rawson Marshall Thurber, who last directed this summer’s raunchy comedy We’re the Millers for New Line, who recently got behind Central Intelligence.
Helms appeared in the pot comedy as well, making this a triple reteaming. I’m sure New Line hopes for a repeat performance in the box office, too, as We’re the Millers took in a surprisingly high (hehe) $269 million worldwide on a modest $37 million budget. Regardless of how you feel about a big, obvious spy comedy, you can’t deny it’s better than hearing about Thurber signing on to direct the sequel We’re Also the Millers. The original spec script was written by The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz and Dave Stassen, and has seen rewrites from 21’s Peter Steinfeld and We’re the Millers writer Sean Anders, but Thurber will be taking over script duties, according to THR.
Here’s hoping he injects a huge amount of personality into a plot that sounds as stale as the very first loaf of bread, only with social media included. Helms will play an accountant who gets in touch with an old friend on Facebook and finds himself pulled into the dangerous world of international espionage. A fish out of water story about an ordinary guy turned spook? Didn’t we stop watching this after a few years on NBC with Chuck? I have no doubt that there will be a few original ideas in this movie, but the entire approach needs to be novel in order to please…me, I guess.
Helms got thrown into the center of a slew of Internet community controversy this past week, as he’ll be starring in the ill-conceived reboot of the Naked Gun spoof franchise, in a role that Leslie Nielson owned. Helms is following in the footsteps of Steve Carrell, who took on both the "ill-advised remake" and the "spy comedy" labels when he made Get Smart. The sense of humor Central Intelligence will utilize almost entirely relies on whether it’s going for an R or a PG-13 rating. The latter will be more in tune with Thurber’s most recent.
He did go PG-13 for his first film, 2004’s "born to be a cult film" Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Hopefully some of that film’s random quirky energy can be replicated and adapted to a spy story. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a terrible movie.