Malcolm D. Lee
(GIRLS TRIP, BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT, THE BEST MAN)
Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Taran Killam, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Al Madrigal and Rob Riggle
For comedies that return an adult to any form of adolescent education, it hasn’t been a great year thus far. In LIFE OF THE PARTY, star Melissa McCarthy tried hard and was the most likable part in what was otherwise an average movie directed by her real-life husband. By the time audiences are dismissed from an overlong two-hour class in NIGHT SCHOOL, a below-average grading awaits.
Life is pretty sweet for Teddy (Kevin Hart), a high-school drop-out who enjoys his job as a salesman at a BBQ store, which he is very successful at, and is planning to propose to his beautiful girlfriend, Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke). Life looks set to become even sweeter for Teddy when a new employment opportunity that promises a higher salary arises. But first, he must attend night school in order to pass an exam that he walked out of decades ago. Standing in Teddy’s way of accomplishing this is his no-nonsense teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish), a troublesome fellow classmate (Al Madrigal) and the school principal (Taran Killam).
NIGHT SCHOOL’s premise and the attractive pairing of its two leads do make for an appealing comedy, but several mistakes are made and there is a lot left to learn itself.
There are two particular errs of judgement committed here. Firstly, and most noticeably, the script writers (and boy, there’s a lot of them!) haven’t thought up enough ideas for scenarios or penned the dialogue in a way that’ll generate consistent laughter. What we see in NIGHT SCHOOL is uninventive, only musters the occasional chuckle and is then lazily rinsed and repeated. Secondly, and as a result of the aforementioned, a lot of these exchanges of dialogue and action is shared among cast members playing supporting characters. These characters attract far less interest than those who ought to be our leads and the actors portraying them just don’t have the necessary star-power to entertain and engage in their overly generous contributions. Again, the lack of quality in material they’re given to act and the repetitious nature of the comedy doesn’t do them any favours either. I mean how many times do we need to witness just how clueless Mackenzie (Rob Riggle) is or hear the complaints of motherhood (but how blessed she really is) from the socially-awkward Theresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub) until the writers gel that it was hardly funny the first time, let alone the fifth?
You can hall pass on NIGHT SCHOOL. Or wait for at-home release at best.
M (Crude sexual humour and coarse language)
Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film