Night School, starring and written by American comedian Kevin Hart, follows the struggles of recently unemployed businessman Teddy (Hart) who returns to high school in hope of getting his GED. Under the academic guidance of the unorthodox and no-nonsense night teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish), Teddy and other students battle to reach their pass grades whilst dealing with learning difficulties, the  circumstances of life and expectations associated with race and social backgrounds. Through of all this, Teddy attempts to hide his extra tuition from his high fashion designer fiancée Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and must deal with the consequences of his debatably awful decisions.

Throughout the film attempts to convey positive messages of overcoming disability and the preconceptions of race but it is very poorly executed. Humour is incredibly race based, to the point where some characters become the stereotypes the film is attempting to overcome. This leads to many uncomfortable moments where there is clearly meant to be a punchline, but it fails.

In addition to this, a lot of the ‘humour’ is derived from either Hart making an obnoxiously loud exclamation or a random crude remark so that one has no choice but to laugh at the sheer absurdness of it. Some examples include ‘that Cheeto dust give [sic] you that Trump look’ and ‘I have learning herpes’. At some points the film appears to become self-aware as characters comment on how loud and small Hart’s character is, clearly playing up to Hart’s typecasting, so perhaps the film does take itself with a pinch of salt.

However, Night School can’t even save itself with its cinematography. Most of the scenes are shot reverse shot in very quick succession, which becomes tedious as no shot lasts longer than about five seconds before it switches to another character. The soundtrack is utterly forgettable.  Unless you want to spend almost two hours wishing you were somewhere else, Night School is one to miss.

2 stars

Image credit: Movie DB

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