Night School is a lame excuse for a comedy that is desert dry of any humor whatsoever and makes the viewer wish for just a drop of funny, anything, to quench their thirst.
Director Malcolm D. Lee may have a name that some of you may be familiar with, as it pops up most commonly with some of the bigger comedies of recent years: Girls Trip and Barbershop: The Next Cut, while also directing some of the worst comedies in recent years: Scary Movie 5 and now this. While I do have faith that this is a director that can create a great comedy, most evident in Barbershop: The Next Cut, and by introducing the breakout performance of Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip, Night School is a gigantic step backwards. This comedy plays off as a made-for-tv movie that barely got the budget to film, yet it somehow cost $29 million to make. The comedy is poorly executed, partly to the fault of the script and actors, while the direction also could have shined a brighter light on classic slapstick instead of constant banter back and forth that never gives off even a hint of something to laugh about. It’s a certain demerit on the career of everyone involved, especially for Lee as he has slowly been making a name for himself until this moment.
Kevin Hart’s Teddy wants to pretend he’s a bigshot to make sure that his fiance stays with him, but as unfortunate circumstances strike, Teddy, a high school dropout, must seek out his GED to make his life better in more ways than one. It’s a relatively ‘by the numbers’ story that follows a man who feels he needs to make everyone else believe he’s something special before proving to himself his own self worth. It’s as predictable as predictable gets, except instead of the lead falling for the character that he didn’t start off liking till later on, the film takes a turn and provides a twist that made me shrug, wondering why this is the only technically clever piece of the script. It’s a proving your self-worth film, a heist movie, a revenge flick, and a romantic comedy, except all accomplished with the lowest degree of care in the world.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish should have been a homerun with the proper project to link the two. However, Night School is surely not that, with a bland lead that comes off as more obnoxious than funny, and a love triangle that not only doesn’t exist but is exhausting to even comprehend. Almost every side character, excluding Tiffany Haddish’s Carrie and (maybe) Taran Killam’s Stewart, is completely disposable, while providing absolutely zero to the plot or humor of the film. The film is written by six individuals, some very well known for comedy, and even including the star of the film, Kevin Hart, in the writer’s room; yet somehow with all that help not a single line of dialogue is a funny, nor cohesive way to lead the plot along. To be perfectly honest, the film feels lopsided and that’s hard to say when the film is close to a two hour runtime, and it feels like it had crucial scenes chopped for a rating downgrade.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Similar to the rest of the feature, this comedy has a poorly composed score that provides anything put thrills or laughs to the film. David Newman isn’t known to provide excellent scores, but instead cartoon-level music that perfectly captures that of Ice Age or Scooby Doo, but certainly not comedies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Girls Trip. Another huge issue is that every sound effect is amplified to an overdramatic level that makes every comedic moment obnoxiously compromised. It’s to such a terrible level that I’m surprised that in a scene where Tiffany Haddish farts, it doesn’t make a generic squeal. To conclude this category I will repeat by saying that the score and sound is relentlessly and utterly forgettable.
The school, which the film spends a majority of the runtime in, doesn’t express a high budget comedy vibe, and instead feels like a set that was either made to look like a tv movie, or an actual school that the director had no desire to properly execute the shots in. There’s really not a whole lot to talk about here, as not a ton of makeup is in use beyond typical cosmetic makeup, and the only scene that uses special effects (besides a terrible shot of a wire moving) is an explosion very early in the film which is also very much spoiled in the trailers.
From the rough start that never smoothed out, my head was absolutely throbbing. Not from a pre-movie headache, but from the irritation being presented on screen. Night School is an embarrassing attempt at comedy for comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, as well as a failed approach to bring two of the biggest names in the genre today together.