Saw this last night on the big screen, not expecting much but hoping to be entertained. Sadly that didn't happen. Why? I has to have been the movie's writing and the way it was directed. It just never got started, and while the actors' delivery in the various scenes had to have been what the director wanted, it just never rang true. I'll leave off any explanation of the plot and story line, others have done a great job at that. I'll just stick to what I feel are the failings of the directing and writing. The movie starts out well enough, we get the transformation of the formerly bullied fatty 'Rob Wierdich' into the now huge and muscular Rob Stone and how this man now re-enters the life of co-protagonist Calvin Joyner, a man whose great high school promise has in his own estimation fizzled. Stone is over-the-top enthusiastic and presumptive while Joyner plays the baffled and grudgingly accommodating nebbish. But it is carried on too long, straining for the laugh. Hart as Joyner goes from normal speaking voice to Chris Rock style falsetto screeching with apparently little provocation and Dwaine Johnson's Rob Stone plays his overplayed huge smile and light hearted repartee gag so often that it becomes tiresome and distracting. The mishandled opportunities in the movie get worse as it goes on. Late in the movie comes the anticipated high school reunion. The movie's makers seem to have had no idea how to tastefully or effectively tie it all up and make a satisfying conclusion to the story. The principal bully who has harassed and humiliated Stone throughout the movie could have been dealt his come-uppance in some turnabout humiliation of his own, and I was expecting and even looking forward to this. Instead the writers blew this chance and had Stone simply haul off and knock the far smaller man unconscious with a single blow to the head, in front of the whole crowd. Nice. Way to transform your hero. More disturbing by far is the next scene in which Stone takes the stage and while accepting an honor, begins to take off clothing. No... he's not going to... but yes. Not only do the writers have Stone strip off his shirt to show off his muscles in a display of vanity, they have him strip completely naked, to the ooo's and ah's of the assembled crowd, and then walk around like a regular dance attendee. What was the purpose of the full nudity? Are we supposed to believe that Stone has altered his genitalia to the better as well as his muscles? (while it isn't shown of course, the implication that Stone is totally nude is clear when Stone tries to hug Joyner and the latter says, "Not now with your junk hanging out!" I'm not offended at the scene, but I really have to wonder what motivated the writers to think they were advancing the story arc with this uncomfortable and implausible gag. What were they thinking? It's just weird. Lots of action scenes, cool stunts, but the story was dealt a poor telling.
Calvin Joyner was voted in high school the guy most likely to succeed. 20 years later he's an accountant. As his high school reunion approaches, he tries to make contact with his old schoolmates. And someone named Bob Stone contacts him. He says that he was known as Robbie Weirdicht in school. Calvin remembers that he was picked on, as a matter of fact after an extremely nasty prank he left school. They agree to meet and Calvin is surprised by how much he has changed. Bob asks Calvin to help him out. He says yes and the next thing he knows some men burst into his home. They're CIA, the one in charge is looking for Stone, she says he's a rogue agent. When they can't find Bob they leave. Later he approaches Calvin telling him, he is not a rogue agent, he's trying to find a person known as the Balck Badger who is planning to sell some information that in the wrong hands can be disastrous. so he needs Calvin's help to stop him. Calvin's not sure whom he should believe.