Night School is without a shadow of a doubt, a Kevin Hart movie. Literally, it is produced by Kevin Hart’s company and stars the comedian/actor as the protagonist, but the film as a whole, script, casting and ‘jokes’ are all painstakingly adequate and in line with any other Hart film on the shelf.
The movie follows a year in the life of Teddy (Hart), a high school dropout turned employee of every month BBQ salesman. Teddy is living a fake life to keep up a life of glamour with his interior designer girlfriend; a run of misfortune and toilet humour leave Teddy jobless, carless and remarkably not lifeless after a run in with a gas canister.
This leaves Teddy with his worst nightmare and only option – going back to school to get his degree (GED). In walks Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) who undoubtedly steals the movie from under Hart’s feet. Carrie, a high school and night class teacher who has a personal agenda against the school’s headteacher (Tarran Killam) – who also just happens to be the nerd Teddy bullied at school – has an unorthodox teaching method to get the usual suspects of a night class through the year. Those usual suspects being a stay at home mum, a juvenile delinquent, a convict, an illegal immigrant and the dumbest man to walk the school halls.
The movie watches as these misfits first turn on one another and then band together, first to cheat the exam and then, when that unsurprisingly fails, to help each other pass. It is discovered that Teddy suffers from dyslexia and dyscalculia, but instead of being given the help of extra time and a ghost typist for the exam, Carrie takes it upon herself to ‘distract’ Teddy’s learning disabilities. How does she do that, you ask? She beats him up Mixed Martial Arts style in a gym numerous times, essentially branding Teddy with post-traumatic stress disorder that he can then take forward with him to the final exam.
There is of course, the normal character arc of a Hart character, as he struggles with his battles to come out a nicer/stronger/happier/(insert generic adjective here) person. The film, apart from Haddish, is just standard and relies on racial and social stereotypes for humour. With standard tropes such as a number of jokes about Hart’s height, a white character using black slang and an immigrant who has perfect English except for comic timing. Even the plot itself includes numerous plot holes that are so recognisable you can’t begin to play them off as movie magic. This cannot even be recommended as an easy watch, as the entire movie is just offensive and unfunny. But then again, as said at the start, what else would you expect from a Kevin Hart movie in the first place?
Image: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr