Night School

night_school_xlgDirected by Malcolm D. Lee best known for the Tiffany Haddish breakout film Girls Trip released in 2017, Night School is a silly comedy that has a few laughs but ultimately fails to live up to the comedic potential of casting the often very funny Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart. The film follows high school dropout Teddy Walker, played by comedian Kevin Hart, who is living a happy life with his professionally successful girlfriend Lisa and has a stable job working as a barbecue grill salesman in Atlanta. However, before that, he was seen as a failure by his very strict father Gerald, played by Emmy Award winner Keith David, and has ever since tried to live up to his father by pretending to be more successful than he really is in life. Everything seems to fall apart after he loses his job and has to come to the realization that he has been living his supposedly financially successful paycheck to paycheck. In order to get a good job working in the financial sector for his friend Marvin, Teddy is told that he has to get his GED and enroll in night school. Teddy believes this will be relatively easy by simply asking the new principal of his former high school for a GED, but he quickly realizes that he will actually have to study and join night school after encountering the principal who turns out to be a former classmate of his that he bullied in high school named Stewart, played by Saturday Night Live alumnus Taran Killam. The night school teacher is the fairly untraditional yet passionate Carrie, played by the breakthrough comedian Tiffany Haddish, who pushes hard for her adult students to pay attention and pass the GED exam. Her class is comprised of adults who had to drop out of high school for various reasons and are now looking for a new lease on life and include such comedians as Rob Riggle, Al Madrigal, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Much of the film shows the antics of the class led by the de facto leader and class clown Teddy, including a haphazard and ridiculous plot to steal the answers to one of the tests from the principal’s office. Eventually, the movie touches on several more serious issues regarding education: Teddy discovers that he has had trouble in school because of several learning disabilities, and all the students are shown as truly wanting to change their lives and persevere to get their GEDs. Towards the end, Teddy also tries to make amends with his now fiancé Lisa who is upset with him after learning that he was not straightforward with the fact that he was a high school dropout and that he has been taking night school without telling her. Overall, I found it to be a somewhat entertaining film that was suitable for passing the time but, unfortunately, failed to adequately use the comedic skills of the usually hilarious talented comedians.

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