Night School

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Night School follows Kevin Hart’s Teddy Walker as he reluctantly agrees to get his GED after he’s forced to embark on a new career – with the movie detailing Teddy’s exploits alongside his ragtag fellow students (including Rob Riggle’s Mackenzie, Anne Winters’ Mila, and Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Theresa) and hard-as-nails teacher (Tiffany Haddish’s Carrie). Filmmaker Lee, working from a script credited to six (!) writers, admittedly delivers a fast-paced and relatively entertaining opening stretch that benefits from an eclectic roster of performers, although, perhaps predictably, the movie begins alienating viewers with a midsection that grows less and less interesting as time progresses – with Night School‘s transformation into a progressively interminable trainwreck triggered by a long, unfunny sequence introducing Teddy’s classmates (ie it essentially stops the picture dead in its tracks). The film is, beyond that point, dominated by a series of padded-out and poorly-improvised scenes devoid of purpose or laughs, and it’s clear, too, that the progressively arms-length atmosphere is compounded by the decidedly less-than-subtle nature of both Hart and Haddish’s work here (ie the actors deliver loud, aggressively over-the-top performances that are increasingly akin to nails on a chalkboard). The screenplay’s penchant for eye-rollingly hackneyed character arcs certainly does nothing to alleviate the pedestrian vibe, while the endless final stretch, which contains laughable instances of forced drama (including an extraordinarily unnecessary fake break-up, ensures that the whole thing ends on as anticlimactic a note as one could envision – thus confirming Night School‘s place as a seriously misguided contemporary comedy that seems unlikely to appeal even to Hart and Haddish’s fans. (And why on earth does this thing run a punishing 111 minutes?)

* out of ****

1 Comment

  1. Maybe you should read the fans reviews and you’ll learn that’s about what the fans want. Not what you think the fans want. You so-called critics ask for way to much with these types of movies. We as fans want to be entertained. Not look for a masterpiece comedy.

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