With Kevin Hart being the biggest comedian of the last few years and Tiffany Haddish growing in fame and stature with the release of 2017’s Girls Trip, it’s easy to see why some would be excited about them teaming up. Night School provides that opportunity and on paper, ha the potential to solidify their positions in the world of comedy. I’m pretty sure there are at least a few who will feel that was achieved, but I’m guessing that group will only include a very small number of people.
After finding himself in an undesireable position, Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) decides to head to night school in order to prepare for his GED exam. He’s hoping to use this time to move up the financial ladder by eventually getting a high paying job. Instead of studying and sacrificing, he believes that all he has to do is use the tactics that have gotten him this far in life. However, when getting involved with his fellow students and dealing with a no-nonsense teacher (Tiffany Haddish), he’ll learn that earning his GED is the only option.
Night School is nowhere near as funny as it needs to be for it to be successful or memorable. There are plenty attempts at comedy, but the laughs didn’t come as frequently as the jokes did. That’s obviously an issue, but it becomes even more of a problem when you look at the fact that this is the type of comedy that completely relies on the jokes since there’s nothing else for this to fallback on.
Since this is another Kevin Hart showcase, you would think he’d have the funniest moments, but that isn’t the case. In fact, the best performances come from the supporting characters. Led by Romany Malco, these guys help breathe a small amount of life into what could have been completely stagnant, flat, and dreadful from start to finish. Outside of these guys, it was mostly a chore to watch what’s being shown to us through the nearly two-hour runtime.
Much of this falls on the shoulders of Kevin Hart since he once again stars as the flick’s protagonist and gets the vast majority of screen time. He does what he always does, but it simply doesn’t work as well as it may have in the not so distant past. I can’t definitively say whether the problem here is due to his act wearing thin or if the material he had wasn’t of good quality, but I do know that it simply doesn’t work all that well this time around. Either way, it’s not a good look.
Tiffany Haddish is also problematic here since she doesn’t really do much in terms of comedy either. If you see Night School, you’ll also realize that her role isn’t nearly as big or as important as you might have thought it was going to be. They give her second billing directly across from Hart, but she’s not really an important character. I’d imagine that the only reason why her name was put in the spotlight was because she’s received a lot of publicity in the past year or so. Aside from that, her character could have been played by anyone.
And in terms of her character, she’s essentially playing the stereotypical black woman with a particular style of attitude. It looks like that’s how she’s going to be typecast moving forward. Along with Kevin Hart, they don’t appear to have any real interest in diversifying their roles much. I guess they’re fine with that as long as they keep getting offers and making money. Once that ends, I could see both of them disappearing from the scene pretty quickly.
The people who enjoy Night School will be in the minority. Other potential viewers will probably end up disappointed with what they get. I wasn’t expecting anything original or completely different from what they actually give us, but I was hoping for better comedy at the very least. If that part had been done better, you’re looking at a picture that could at least be seen as entertaining. And because we don’t get that, you’d be better off saving your money.
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Film Length: 111 minutes
Release Date: September 28th, 2018
Distributor: Universal Pictures
- Score - 3/103/10