Night School Movie Review
Kevin Hart is funny. The problem is he isn’t funny in movies. The second problem is his movies are shit.
Last week, the pint-sized comedian was on Jimmy Fallon, guest starring along with Steve Irwin’s 14-year-old clone. Hart’s terrified reactions to the various animals brought on stage were priceless. For 15 minutes he had me in tears, and he wasn’t even meant to be the focus of the segment.
Sadly, those 15 minutes were funnier than the aggregate of his new movie Night School, a comedy that is about as good as it looked in trailers (read: not good).
The movie is from the director of the hilarious Girls Trip, but unfortunately it isn’t from the writers of Girls Trip. Instead, Hart and a team of five other writers (!!!) combined unholy forces to deliver a lame, largely unfunny screech-fest that caters to Hart’s worst tendencies. It’s your typical team-produced cluster of haphazardly compiled segments that you can tell sounded funny on paper but on screen are simply desperate and unworthy of your time.
Night School is about Kevin Hart, playing Kevin Hart, a loud, idiotic liar who no stranger could love, but who has landed a gorgeous, intelligent and successful fiancé who somehow falls for his awfulness. One problem—aside from the fact that the movie generally isn’t very good—is that we’re supposed to sympathize with Hart’s character, even though he is financially irresponsible, unemployed and a compulsive liar. In short, he’s the kind of loser you’d never want to see your female friend dating—let alone marrying.
Malcolm D. Lee attempts to overcome the film’s writing as best he can with some inspired casting, most notably Tiffany Haddish—who made a huge splash in Girls Trip and who is easily the best part of Night School. Haddish isn’t as funny as she was in Trip, but she’s still pretty good as Hart’s oddly sympathetic and patient night school teacher (think how much funnier this movie would have been focused on her character as she is forced to teach a bunch of helpless dimwits). Hart’s classmates are also amusing, even if the screenplay doesn’t utilize them all that well; Rob Riggle as an outright idiot evokes a few laughs, and Mary Lynn Rajskub arguably steals the show as a housewife and mother with a dark side.
Night School does have some funny moments, but it too easily slips into eye-rolling stupidity. The humor isn’t entirely flat, but it is consistently bland, full of jokes that at best only half-work and even then only because of the cast members not named Kevin Hart.
This one deserves a D+. Kevin Hart an F.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.