HOLLYWOOD—Just because you have two funny people in a movie does not guarantee that the movie itself will be funny. Kevin Hart, the comedian who has been delivering laughs for years, teams up with the hottest female comedienne of 2018, Tiffany Haddish, who saw instant success with her scene stealing role in the 2017 comedy “Girls Trip,” for the new comedy “Night School.”
The premise of the movie is quite simple: Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) dropped out of high school and finds himself years later needing to get his GED in order to take his career to another level, while impressing his girlfriend who is used to having the finer things in life. One could make the argument that this is a case of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ with comedic humor in the mix.
After a bit of a mishap at his current place of employment, Teddy finds himself hitting rock bottom in desperate need of attaining his GED to gain employment. Teddy soon learns that his sins from the past are about to come back to haunt him. Why? His goal to bribe the principal at his old high school falls flat, when he comes face-to-face with the principal, Stewart (Taran Killam) who Teddy used to bully. That chance meeting with Teddy leads to an encounter with the night school teacher, Carrie portrayed by Haddish.
The biggest problem I had with this film is the impression that both Hart and Haddish were attempting to outdo one another in the comedy world. Haddish has a penance for scene stealing moments, but here, they feel so over-the-top and beaten to the core with the joke that it is not funny one single bit. The thing about a joke or a comedic moment is that it seamlessly delivers to the audience; you’re NOT expecting it or getting the feeling that the writers and performers are working overtime to deliver the laugh.
Unfortunately, that happens way to often here, and it’s a bummer because the comic caliber is extraordinary. In addition to Hart and Haddish, actors Rob Riggle and Romany Malco are also part of the cast and their talents seem underutilized for a film that is all about delivering humor. The jokes or moments as I like to call them have been virtually spoiled in the TV spots and trailers; you don’t really see anything that catches you off guard. Haddish does well as the unconventional teacher, but plenty of her antics seem similar to things seen by the actress in other comedies that she has appeared in.
“Night School” does indeed have a theme of never giving up on accomplishing your dreams and it has heart that can connect with most people. If you ever attended school or had difficulty in school, Teddy’s character, as well as some of the other students in the class will strike a chord with the audience. However, if you’ve entered the theater expecting belly aches of laughs, you’re not going to find that with this movie.