“Night School” stars Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Taran Killam, Romany Malco, Keith David, and Loretta Devine. Released on September 28, 2018, the film has a group of adults attending night school in order to earn their GEDs.
The film is directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who also directed films such as “The Best Man”, “Roll Bounce”, and “Girls Trip”. As an adult who graduated from college three years ago, I always enjoy not having to worry about homework assignments and getting to classes on time. Although I still have to worry about my full-time job and my future career as a film critic. However, there’s going to be some movies that remind me of school, including this one. This new comedy reunites director Malcolm D. Lee with comedian Tiffany Haddish after delivering the smash hit, “Girls Trip”, last summer. This time, they’re inviting Kevin Hart to join in on the fun. Each of these actors did very well in putting their comedy into our souls in their separate projects. Will they be able to do the same in this film and get a passing grade?
The story follows Teddy Walker (Hart), a high school dropout who works as a grill salesman. When an incident leaves him jobless, he turns to his best friend Marvin (Ben Schwartz) who’s willing to give Teddy a job at his company, but can’t until he earns a GED. In order to get a GED, Teddy must attend night school, pass the test, and graduate. His goal may sound easy as pie, but with a bunch of obstacles in his way, including his sassy night school teacher Carrie (Haddish), it’s anything but. With a premise like that and a promising cast of talented actors, this film sounds like it could have a chance to be the next comedy hit, right? Well, to put it in my own perspective, if you’re expecting it to be an over-the-top comedy, there’s a 50 percent chance that you might feel a bit disappointed. There were a few comedic moments that were pretty hilarious, but the majority of it felt either forced or underwhelming compared to the other comedies that starred either Hart or Haddish. However, director Malcolm D. Lee was able to make up for the film's disappointing attempts at providing humor by inserting its feel-good nature and suitable messages into its average plot. This is one of those films that leave a good old-fashioned smile on my face even though the humor wasn't as clever as I thought it would be. It’s a feel-good drama that tried to pass itself up as a comedy. Despite their jokes being tame, I thought Hart and Haddish did a nice job together as Teddy and Carrie, respectively. They didn’t deliver the best chemistry in comedy history, but I still had fun watching these two go at it with one another. As for the other actors like Rob Riggle and Taran Killam, all I can say is that they did their best in making the movie tolerable, even though the results are all C’s.
Overall, as a genuine comedy, “Night School” flunked. As an unintended drama that generates school spirit, it barely passed. The film’s respectable cast and Malcolm D. Lee’s direction were enough to overcome its disappointing humor and plot. I didn’t laugh as much as I wanted to, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that I left the theater with a smile instead of a frown. If you’re a fan of the two main actors, this film might be for you. Just don’t expect it to have a lot of over-the-top shenanigans that you usually see in comedies.