by Tom Clocker
Teddy (Kevin Hart, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) is a high school dropout. He’s also a hustler and a liar, living a life that is really just a façade. His girlfriend Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke) is way out of his league and he does anything he can to convince her he’s got it all together. When his life begins to fall apart, he fears he will lose her if she finds out the truth. Teddy’s best friend, played by Ben Schwartz (TV’s Parks and Recreation) says he will give him a job at his financial firm if Teddy can go back and get his GED. Teddy figures that will be easy since he is a slick salesman and can talk a high school principal into simply signing off on the paperwork for him. His plan takes a hard, left turn when he discovers his high school nemesis Stewart (Taran Killam) is the new school principal. Teddy has no choice but to attend night school, led by teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish, Uncle Drew), and pass the GED test. Teddy’s new classmates run the gamut of hilarious backgrounds and reasons for being in the class.
Kevin Hart is both a producer and a writer of Night School. He had a team of writers help him and it is clear that having multiple comedy writers collaborate was the right way to go. It is also obvious that this was a passion project for Hart. As his career has progressed, so has his body of talent. With every project, he seems to get more well-rounded and his comedy hits hard with very few misses. Night School may use a pretty standard comedy format, but the jokes are almost non-stop. And the standard “lesson to learn” ending was actually very poignant and well-done. It’s an important message that gives the audience a great takeaway.
Tiffany Haddish as teacher Carrie is terrific. She’s got the perfect blend of sarcastic edge and down-to-earth emotional connection with the other characters. Every single character in “Night School” hits all the right notes at all the right times. There doesn’t seem to be a wasted person or piece of dialogue in the entire 110 minutes. And that’s pretty impressive for a rather lengthy comedy. The film moves along at a fast pace and never lags. When it’s all over it does not even feel like the film is almost 2 hours long.
Really, the only negative (which is actually a positive) is the fact that you may miss some jokes or dialogue because the laughter in the theater is so loud. Some directors do an excellent job putting pauses after potential big laughs to avoid this, but there were quite a few jokes I missed. Personally, this is one of the funniest films I have seen in a long time. I went into it not expecting much and was pretty blown away. I don’t usually recommend my readers spend theater money on a “cookie cutter comedy”, but this film is perfect for a fun night out.
Kevin Hart hits a home run with this all-around fantastic film.