Night School schools audiences in how to be funny and inclusive.
⭐ ⭐ ½
Night School follows Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart), a high school drop out who never sat his GED. After accidentally blowing up the BBQ store he was set to take over, he finds himself unemployable. When he receives a job offer on the condition he goes to night school and gets his GED, Teddy signs up for lessons at his old school. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as Teddy thought it would be and he’s left to decide just how far he’s willing to go to pass his final exam.
Nigh School is the latest offering from Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee. His latest isn’t as crass as Girls Trip, choosing instead to cement its comedy in social commentary and the paths people take after school, with some slapstick thrown in for good measure.
Hart and Tiffany Haddish, who plays the night school teacher Carrie, make a great comedic duo, bouncing off each other in a blur of witty retorts, but it’s the obvious respect that the two comedic actors have for each other that makes them a pleasure to watch. Haddish’s usual comedic style has been stripped back and Hart has toned down his usual style as well, but it works given they’re surrounded by an ensemble of other comedians including the likes of Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and Rob Riggle (The Hangover) each earning their own laughs throughout the course of the film.
There are a lot of current social elements thrown into this film, like making Haddish’s character a lesbian and portraying Teddy as being more intelligent for having dyslexia. While the representation of learning disorders is handled sensitively, the addition of Haddish’s character being a lesbian feels a bit weird. It seems like inclusion of sexual representation for the sake of it, and it’s an easy way out for Carrie not to be interested in Teddy, rather than just being a woman who isn’t sexually attracted to him.
Overall Night School is a surprisingly funny film with some strong messages, however, some of the jokes fall flat, and there are times when the story becomes impossibly far-fetched.
Night School is available in Australian cinemas from September 27
Also screening as part of the RoofTop Movies Program 1 on Nov 17.
Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018