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Night School (2018) Movie Review


*Spoiler Alert*

What this movie is about is a bunch of comedians coming together to improv whatever they want on screen for over an hour and a half, that's what this movie is truly about. It's not about story or character or even supplying enough context to provide legitimate entertainment. No. It's about the actors mugging at the camera with constant line-o-rama and then occasionally a mediocre, manufactured right out of the of the Hollywood production line comedy that we've seen hundreds of times before. This is if "Back to School" with Rodney Dangerfield had every actor forget about being a character and just kept babbling to the camera for the whole run time and then maybe remembered to be a movie in the last 10 minutes.

However, the movie would probably argue that the actual plot starts off with Kevin Hart, clearly suffering from a learning disability reminiscent of dyslexia, dropping out of high school and years later he appears to have a decent enough life; a secure job with a promising future as a grill salesman, a successful interior designer as a girlfriend that he plans on proposing to, a sweet car and apartment. All seems to be right with the world, until some wackiness ensues after his marriage proposal that leads to his place of work blowing up. Now he needs to get his G.E.D. to get the job that he wants, so he goes to night school where unfortunately that means dealing with an old high school rival as the principal and a foul mouthed teacher full of attitude...that's all folks. There's no more real story to this, just 'jokes'. Do you know how long it takes for the movie to get to actual night school? Over half an hour. This movie meanders so much because all of the actors are adlibbing and the editor seems to be missing so every scene stretches out so much longer than needed with line-o-rama and low-brow, sophomoric humor. Instead of ever getting to the point of any scene, we get a padded out mess where no one shuts up. A scene may start out seemingly straight forward, but then the actors have to get into a long winded discussion about pubic hair or anal sex or just something stupid; it goes on and on until the editor has used up every take and is forced to move onto the next scene.

For a movie that's called "Night School", it is barely focused on actually showing Kevin Hart's progress in the class. In the whole movie I think there might have been maybe three classes shown, which was supposed to represent an entire semester passed. But even when it did concentrate on him being in night school, it was always just to provide more babbling from all the actors about nonsense. The movie will stop dead in its tracks during one of the classes just so it can show a random prison fight for no reason. Or when it gets into this segment when the night school class students decide they want to steal the answer key for their midterm, so they break into the school one night. Sounds simple enough right? Shouldn't take that long. You'd be wrong, because we have to make sure that the actors adlib about one of the students not wearing black for the break-in, stretch figuring out what to do with a person they incapacitated, talk about 'what is it about butt sex today', turns out they broke in while the school had a parent/teacher conference so now they need to distract the principal before he gets back to his office by being awkward and talking about butt sex again, then when it comes to them escaping we need a full conversation on a rooftop babbling about trying to find the hypotenuse of how to jump across a gap and repeating the word 'hypotenuse' as much as humanly possible. No worries, the scene ends with one of the characters severely injuring his arm to the point where it is twisted behind his head...he's fine. There's no cast or sling worn by that character or even any mention of the event happening afterwards, like it never happened or was even relevant to have in the movie at all. This isn't the only time something like this happens because in the first act Kevin Hart is propelled from an exploding building, while inside, landing on top of a car...completely unharmed. It would be one thing if the movie established that it was just set in a sort of wacky world where nothing has any real-world consequences like a cartoon, but it never does that; it doesn't build that sort of humor up or earn that, it just feels lazy.

Aside from the awful adlibbing this is plagued with, the story is wildly mediocre, what little there is. Guy goes through traumatic experience in his youth, cut to years later when he's become a jerk with a relatively decent life now must learn the error of his ways and better his own life. Misunderstandings occur, which results in a third act break-up between the lead and his love interest, but is easily resolved with a speech moments later. I mean, even that speech at the end of every movie like this is ruined with how much bad adlibbing there is because Kevin Hart starts to talk about sperm in the middle of this 'oh so touching' monologue he has for his graduation speech. The third act break-up feels particularly forced, because you know that it's coming but it could have been avoided and when it does happen it feels like it could still be cleared up so easily. To give more context, when Kevin Hart is forced to go to night school he feels as though he has to keep this information from his fiance or else she may break up with him; he is under the impression that the second she has to pay for anything or if she finds out that he's not some huge success then she will just leave him. Okay, if a man truly believes that the woman he's with will break up with him because she pays for a meal then he either has no faith in that person or that woman is completely shallow; either of which means that they should not be together anyhow, so why should I care if they break up?

Which that brings me to another relationship portrayed in this there is a supporting character who is clearly in a verbally abusive relationship, like to the point where this man controls pretty much 100% of her life, forced her into being a stay-at-home mother and yells at her if she doesn't follow his instructions. This movie pretty much says that the way to take care of a situation like that is just to have the wife give a stern talking to her husband and presto! He's a sweet as a kitten, no problems in the marriage anymore... I really don't think that's how that works, but I'll let women speak for that one. Another problem is that I just don't care about anyone in this movie. Like I said before, Kevin Hart's character is a jerk that I don't care if he gets his G.E.D. or the girl.

Overall, this movie is just simply annoying. That's the best way to describe this, annoying and obnoxious. I can't recall a single time I laughed, which is something one should never say about watching a comedy. I didn't like or care about anyone and I know that all the actors involved are better than this. I've seen every single actor work with much better material than what is presented here and I expect more from them.

© 2018 John Plocar

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