Friday, October 5, 2018

Movie Review: "Night School" (2018)

Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Teddy is a high school dropout but is still a master salesman. When an accident blows up his old place of employment, his buddy offers to get him a job as a stockbroker under one condition: Teddy has to get his GED from night school first.

Night School 2018 Kevin Hart Rob Riggle Tiffany Haddish Mary Lynn Rajskub
"Hanging out with you guys scared the shit out of me, so I think I'm going to do something with my life." (Image Source)
We have always liked Kevin Hart as an actor, but even we're starting to agree he's a little oversaturated at the moment. We're sure Hart himself does not give a damn though, because when you produce your own movies, you always have employment. "Night School" is directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who offered up the smash hit comedy "Girls Trip" last year. Lee is also responsible for such films as "Barbershop: The Last Cut," and "Undercover Brother." "Night School" has over a half-dozen credited writers, which leads us to believe it went through many revisions before actually making it to the screen. This comedy centers on high school dropout Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart), who despite not finishing school has been a successful barbeque salesman for years, mainly due to his ability to charm and bullshit customers. Teddy is also dating a successful woman named Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke), who runs her own interior design company. Teddy thinks Lisa is out of his league, so he lies about every aspect of his life to impress her. When a propane accident causes an explosion at Teddy's work, it leaves him unemployed and with few options to turn to for a job. Teddy's friend Marvin (Ben Schwartz), a flourishing financial adviser, offers to hook him up with a job at his firm under the condition that Teddy gets his GED. Teddy reluctantly enrolls in night school and hopes to get his GED with the help of his teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish), but still doesn't tell Lisa what's going on. He's afraid to reveal the truth to her because he thinks she will dump him if she learns he was a high school dropout.
Night School 2018 Kevin Hart Tiffany Haddish
"I don't care if he's as dumb as a Minion, he can take my class if he wants to." (Image Source)
Kevin Hart has been a mainstay comedy powerhouse for studios for years. Tiffany Haddish was the breakout star of "Girls Trip" and has been in high demand ever since. It seemed like a no-brainer to team them up in what would be a sure-fire, laugh-filled win for everyone involved. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly what we got from "Night School." This movie tries really, really, really hard to bring the laughs with its many outrageous scenarios as a motley crew of misfits, including an oppressed-but-kinky housewife (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a dumb meathead (Rob Riggle), a conspiracy nut (Romany Malco), a Mexican racial stereotype (Al Madrigal), and a token teenage delinquent (Anne Winters) each try to get their GED while also learning valuable life lessons along the way. They all get wild things to say and do, but so much of it falls flat that we found ourselves cringing more than laughing. Sure, we smirked and chuckled a time or two, but most of the jokes don't land whatsoever. Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart have a couple moments where they play well off of each other as their student-versus-teacher relationship is tested, but Haddish is underutilized most of the time and what Hart brings to the table is simply more of what we've seen him do in his last four films.
"The day I let her put her plastic down is the day I lose her." (Image Source)
One thing we noticed that was super distracting was the amount of dubbing going on. We saw the actors' lips not matching the words they were saying several times, and these instances came complete with obvious, badly done audio changes. It's clear to us "Night School" was shot with the intention of it being R-rated, but it was later redubbed to cut out a few F-bombs and racial slurs to make it PG-13 for mass appeal...not that an R-rating would have helped its abundance of comedic misfires much. As the story nears its conclusion, it tries to have a shoehorned-in message about bettering yourself through education, that it's never too late to accomplish your goals. There's also a good underlying message about the importance of honesty and integrity. While they are well-intentioned, a heartfelt speech and a decent message aren't enough to save "Night School" from being an otherwise formulaic and scantly humorous comedy that pisses away the talents of its usually funny cast.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.5/10
RT Rating: ~28%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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