Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Written by: Kevin Hart & Harry Ratchford & Joey Wells & Matt Kellard and Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg
Starring: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Taran Killam and Romany Malco
Run Time: 1h 51min
Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
‘Night School’ is Kevin Hart writing for himself to offer you, Kevin Hart. If you like his previous movies, you’ll like this one, too. Some of the juvenile pranks and jokes do fall a little flat, but it doesn’t kill the film overall. Hart knows comedy. If he’s your brand, don’t miss this. That said, allow me to remind you that he does add a little something extra special to this movie that he also produced… Tiffany Haddish. Their chemistry is simply off the charts. Malcolm D. Lee worked with Haddish in ‘Girls Trip’ so he knew these two would gel perfectly. A Kevin Hart comedy, in my humble opinion, is always worth a watch but a Hart/Haddish twosome filled with frenzied back-and-forth verbal sparring, and a little sparring in the Octagon, as well?! Sign me up. I adore these two and one thing’s for certain… they have to work together again soon, though I wouldn’t mind seeing Haddish take the lead next time.
During his high school years, Teddy (Hart), not being the most gifted of students, a fact his sister likes to remind him of, decides he doesn’t want to continue his high school education. He wants to skip this part of life and move straight into working. He plans on being wealthy without working for ‘the man’ and believes his decision will help him get a jump on everyone else. While in school Teddy made a few enemies. One of them was Stewart (Killam) who later becomes the principal of that very school.
Teddy eventually procures almost everything he wants. He has a nice car, a smart, gorgeous, wealthy girlfriend named Lisa (Echikunwoke) who loves him. The career? Well, that hasn’t gone quite as he had hoped. He does do well enough to get by but only as a salesman at a store that sells barbecues. He gets by because he’s such a good salesman but it’s not where he ultimately wants to be in life. However, he soon finds out he’ll get the store when the owner retires which will finally give him a chance to be the man he always knew he could be.
That’s all before the ‘accident’ where he causes the store to blow up. Up to this point, Teddy has been lying to Lisa about the money he makes. In fact, he’s on a strict allowance and is having trouble staying afloat. Now with the accident obviously causing the store to close, his hopes come crashing down. He needs to get something soon or, he fears, he’ll lose everything that matters to him. Ben Schwartz plays a financial adviser, and Teddy’s best friend, who can get him a position at his firm and clear up any of Teddy’s worries. He also informs Teddy that his hands are tied about one matter. Teddy can’t work there until he gets his GED. He has no choice but to go to night school and as fate would have it at the very school he stopped attending years earlier.
When he goes to his night school classes, something he’s doing behind Lisa’s back, Teddy meets his teacher, Carrie (Haddish), who he has already had quite a hilarity filled and memorable run-in with. They instantly don’t like one another but both want the class to succeed. They eventually have to form an alliance and work together, against the principal, to protect the integrity of the system and get Teddy moving forward in life.
With a great cast of character actors playing his fellow students, including Rob Riggle and Romany Malco, Hart manages to get himself out of what could have been a disaster. With so many writers involved with writing the script, it’s easy to picture a scenario where story concepts and jokes were getting thrown out that shouldn’t have and others hitting that shouldn’t have. I say this because at times the plot could be weak, rather sophomoric and unoriginal. It seems maybe something was lost in the shuffle. But as I’ve previously mentioned, the cast alone makes it worth your trouble. Might I suggest seeing a matinee if you decide to head to the theatre?