Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Kevin Hart – Teddy Walker
Tiffany Haddish – Carrie
Rob Riggle – Mackenzie
Anne Winters – Mila
Taran Killam – Stewart
Mary Lynn Rajskub – Theresa
Romany Malco – Jaylen
Megalyn Echikunwoke – Lisa
Hart fans won’t be disappointed with Night School. He teams up with Haddish nicely to portray a struggling student who has to remain under his teacher’s strict control, with a few funny outcomes. The best thing about the movie is Hart doesn’t try too hard to be hilarious. For once he takes a step back, allowing the likes of Winters and Echikunwoke to take the reins, and this may be due to his sombre character but it works perfectly.
The mix of personalities in the movie aren’t bad; the mother with several children sat next to the young hipster who is rife with attitude. The older father figure who is a bit of an oddball. The classmate who has to participate via Skype – because he’s in prison. It certainly makes a mixed bag as a support for the protagonist, lending nicely to the light (if not overly funny) atmosphere.
Haddish graces the screen with a sharp, sassy wit. Her character pulls no punches and the actress makes the most of this by coming out with some great backchat to the students who argue her methods of teaching. Added to her on-screen presence is a background story which isn’t apparent until minutes before the end credits roll.
Night School is hideously unfunny, it really is. Yes there are some characters who make the time pass quickly, but even they don’t save it from being a total flop. The tacky action mostly takes place in the school itself and relies heavily on humorous dialogue from the cast (there really is not much else happening) to move each scene forward. Therefore viewers have nothing to expect but the next gag, whoever it’s coming from.
The budget on this movie must have been miniscule. The set – clearly an emptied high school – is basic and mostly filled with a scattering of extras. And external scenes seem to be filmed at department stores or on the side of highway service stations (the focus mainly on Teddy’s workplace). Night School is a director’s blank canvas – and these guys seemed to throw everything at it in one shot. It seemed as though they took a group of actors and put them in a local high school, shoved a script in one of their hands and shouted, “GO!”. It all honestly felt like the result of an afternoon of improvisation sessions between actors.
The actors have very little to play with in terms of plot; the entire thing is basically a grown man who returns to school to get his GED. So any dramatics on any scale are extremely limited, the core humour stemming from the whole ‘adults at school’ concept. Very minimal stuff.
Night School is an appalling attempt at entertainment. Hart may be on top form as he lets his co-stars take the stage, but the movie itself is beyond tacky. It is mainly built of scenes which are classically stupid and contain conversations which give the impression they should be hilarious, but are just – not. Theresa for example, who finally stands up to her bully of a husband at one point.. the confrontation between them was so brief it meant nothing. This and the fact their issues were practically meaningless compared to the lead character’s story, made it worthy of a titter – but nothing more.
Night School is a total flop of a movie. Its lack of substance makes it more of a skit than a feature film, like a piece of crap you’d see on Saturday Night Live (although even SNL’s standards are probably better than this). And no amount of Hart’s usual open-mouthed, “say whaaaaaat?!” facial expressions can save it.
Haddish was wrongly placed (but the irony was incredible) as the teacher, as the woman seemed to be the main performer to take charge, whilst maintaining a more mature image than everyone else.