‘Night School’ Can’t Get to a Passing Grade

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Average: 3 (2 votes)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Night School” is the latest undistinguished product to come off the Kevin Hart assembly line. If you’re a fan of Hart’s motormouthed and hyperactive small time schtick, you’ll find that this will just barely passed the test. But if you’re not, this movie won’t change anyone’s mind.

Hart stars as a high school dropout named Teddy whose dreams of operating his own his own BBQ grill store literally goes up in flames. He’s also living paycheck to paycheck while attempting to act like a baller and trying to hold on to his fiancé Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke), who is clearly out of his league. So this leads him back to his old high school to take night school classes, to get his GED through an overworked teacher named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish).

Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish in ‘Night School’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

In a long line of sloppy ensemble and buddy comedies, this is among the sloppiest in Kevin Hart’s resume, closer to a latter Adam Sandler vehicle than anything inspired. It is less a movie than a series of exceptionally lazy sketches, which all seem to go on forever without providing much of a payoff. There is, for example, an excruciating sequence of the night school class doing a heist, which involves breaking into the office of the principal (an under-utilized Taran Killiam). They literally hide behind plants after nearly being busted, and then the yucks are supposedly generated by a night schooler (Rob Riggle) falling to what looks like his death.

Haddish and Hart’s verbal banter provides the closest thing to a highlight. But for all of Hart’s hyperactive flailing, I laughed exactly once. Not a terrific gag-to-laugh ratio no matter how much you’re grading on a curve. The rest of the night school class (portrayed with misplaced hyperactivity by Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Anne Winters, Romany Malco, Jacob Batalon and Al Madrigal) are a forgettable collection of oddballs who don’t have anything beyond their one joke personalities.

Hart, Haddish and Taran Killiam in ‘Night School’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Tiffany Haddish keeps the film from flunking out entirely with her trademark quick wit, but the film doesn’t aim for out and out guffaws. It’s happy to amble onto whatever laughs it finds almost in spite of itself. Credited to six writers, it seems to have been written and directed by night school graduates with other things on their minds.

“Night School” opens everywhere in on September 28th. Featuring Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Taran Killiam, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Anne Winters, Romany Malco, Jacob Batalon and Al Madrigal. Written by Kevin Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells, Matthew Kellard, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2018 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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