Teddy (Kevin Hart) isn’t exactly what you’d call the most wholesome human being. He’s a chronic liar, he claims that a person’s bank account is a direct indicator of their worth as a human being, and is very vocal about his disapproval of high school and the ‘sheep’ he calls his classmates.
Fast forward a few years and Teddy’s got everything going his way; a beautiful fiancée, his boss wants to make him the next owner of the company and, most importantly, he’s got plenty of money. However, when an incident at his workplace hinders his future plans, he must attend night school and graduate in order to maintain his current lifestyle.
Kevin Hart has described Night School as ‘The Breakfast Club with adults’, and while the two films share a familiar premise – a group of troublemakers having to attend school after hours – that’s ultimately where the similarity ends.
Where the John Hughes’ classic has amassed a following over the years thanks to its unique characters and the chemistry they share despite their differences, the students in Night School are simply a group of stereotypes, like the frustrated stay-at-home mum, the technophobe, and the immigrant with a funny accent. While these characteristics are inevitably milked for many comedic moments, it doesn’t take long before the jokes begin to feel recycled.
The editing doesn’t do a lot to keep things fresh here, either. The film is almost two hours long and begins to feel like it by the third act, with scenes dragging on simply to squeeze out every last gag possible. Conversely, there is one particular moment involving a prison break style sequence that ends with one of the most abrupt cuts to another scene in recent memory, without any explanation of the actual escape.
Night School is a perfectly serviceable popcorn flick with some genuinely funny moments, but the sluggish pacing and shallow characters prevent it from being a truly memorable comedy.
In cinemas: September 27, 2018
Starring: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Brooke Butler
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee