A common trend among many modern Hollywood comedies is the fact that they try to pair two comedic actors together to see if their chemistry is enough to carry an entire film.
Kevin Hart has been no stranger to this, as he has been paired with Ice Cube for “Ride Along,” Will Ferrell for “Get Hard” and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for “Central Intelligence.”
This time around, however, he is paired with Tiffany Haddish for “Night School,” a comedy that is, if you are willing to accept it for what is, simply nothing more than an entertaining, albeit forgettable time at the movies.
A high school dropout, Teddy Walker (Hart) now lives his life as a successful barbeque salesman with his far more successful girlfriend Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke), until an accidental explosion blows the barbeque shop that he works at to ashes.
While looking for a new job, Teddy finds that in order to be hired as a financial analyst at his friend Marvin’s (Ben Schwartz) investment firm, he must attend night school classes at his old high school to get his GED.
There he finds himself placed in a class of misfits, all of which have their own reasons for wanting to get their GEDs, but when his teacher turns out to be the rather aggressive and no-nonsense Carrie (Haddish), Teddy discovers that getting his GED will be harder than he thought.
This is director Malcolm D. Lee’s follow-up to last year’s box office smash “Girls Trip,” and based on that premise alone, “Night School” is almost exactly what you would expect it to be: a somewhat serviceable comedy that doesn’t exactly leave a lasting impression on you.
The chemistry between Hart and Haddish serves as the film’s strong point, as with most of their dialogue together, they are able to comically play off each other really well.
Not to mention some of the other characters throughout the film also get some time to shine, in particular one of Teddy’s night school classmates Theresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a mother trying to get her GED so that she can support her dysfunctional family.
However, as is the case with most comedies as of late, “Night School” has both its fair share of laughs, and its fair share of jokes that fall flat. Many of the jokes that don’t get a laugh (or even that much of a chuckle) are the ones that simply poke fun at the fact that Kevin Hart is a “pint-sized” man with an annoyingly high-pitched voice.
This same type of humor is characteristic of Hart’s other comedies, so the fact that it’s once again repeated here just seems downright lazy and repetitive.
As mentioned before, however, there are a fair amount of jokes that accomplish their intention, even if the majority of them are very straightforward and rather “easy.”
That being said, the flaw with “Night School” is that most, if not all, of the jokes are not very smart or memorable. At the end of the day, the point of comedy is to not only make you laugh, but to also have jokes that leave a lasting impression on you.
There’s a reason why people still love to say “I am McLovin” (“Superbad”), or “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley” (“Airplane!”), because these comedies do not only succeed in making the audience laugh, but they went the extra mile by making a comedy with smartly written and unique jokes, wanting to make sure their film holds the test of time.
In the end, “Night School” is a comedy that does its job decently while you’re watching it, but as soon as those credits roll, it leaves your mind entirely. There are some effective jokes here, but they’re just not all that memorable.
If you just want to have fun at a comedy, then “Night School” will satisfy you just fine, but if you’re looking for anything more than that, then it will probably disappoint you.