Malcolm D. Lee (director)
1h 51mins (length)
27 September 2020 (released)
28 September 2018
Kevin Hart stars alongside Tiffany Haddish in Night School, an upbeat comedy which reunites the Girls Trip star with director Malcolm D. Lee, who has previously worked with Hart on films Ride Along and Think Like A Man.
Hart stars as Teddy in the new Will Packer-produced comedy, a high school dropout and barbecue equipment salesman, whose charisma and impressive sales abilities have allowed him to convince girlfriend Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke), he's as wealthy as she is.
However, after a freak accident leaves him jobless, Teddy, without a degree or any other skills to fall back on, fears Lisa will dump him, so he decides to return to night school in the hope of finally blagging his high school diploma, enabling him to get another job and hang onto his girlfriend.
At night school Teddy meets a no-nonsense teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish), his high school nemesis Stewart (Taran Killam), who is now the headteacher, and a bunch of other adults who also need their high school diplomas.
Hart and Haddish, who are pals in real life, do have good chemistry onscreen, and in their first encounter, we see the duo get into a verbal sparring match at the traffic lights as Teddy drives to the school. Teddy comes off worse, and it's probably not the best idea to call your teacher's mother a "ho". Other highlights include Hart's interview at a fast food restaurant called Christian Chicken, which ends with a prayer circle.
Night School is a combination of comedy and slapstick, with both Hart and Haddish getting the opportunity to flex their comedic chops. The jokes don't always land, but it's fun to see them both try to squeeze the laughs out. The duo are aided by a good supporting cast that includes Romany Malco, Saturday Night Live's Killam, and Insecure actress Yvonne Orji, who is sadly underused.
As you might expect from a movie centred on school, there's a fair amount of puerile humour, fart jokes included. But Lee does his best to showcase the cast's different comedic approaches.
Unfortunately despite the presence of Hart and Haddish, there are just not enough laughs in the movie. Haddish is forced to play it straight a lot of the time, and the full glory of her comic talent is somewhat constrained, with Hart given the majority of the screen time. Some of the scenes are over-long, and several jokes, frankly tired. Like making fun of Mexican waiter Luis's (Al Madrigal) accent.
While it does end on a redemptive note for Teddy, Night School is a patchy comedy, that scrapes a D grade.