Kevin Hart’s comedic rise to the top has been a tour de force that continues to grow. I used to think of Kevin Hart’s stand up work too similar to comedians like Chris Tucker or Chris Rock, but he has recently found his own ground and turned into a very funny and looking at his filmography very talented. However, in his filmography, there is a trend occurring which massively conflicts with his individual talent. He always seems to be the man that makes his co-star look more impressive. in Ride Along (2014), he was paired with Ice Cube, in Central Intelligence and the rebooted Jumanji film, he was essentially a sidekick to Dwayne Johnson. Although he can work great wonders as a co-star, I felt it was time, for his level of fame, to play a leading role and have people support him for once. He gets his chance in a Tyler Perry-esque comedy Night School and it pains me to say that the film never seizes its opportunities given not just to Kevin Hart, but in general.
Night School has a story that has been done so many times I’m surprised it’s not a template in Final Cut Pro. But with the guidance of Kevin Hart’s style of comedy as well as a director (Malcolm D. Lee) who had just struck success in Girls Trip, there was a big potential to turn an already tired narrative and give it comedic freshness. The problem is Kevin Hart’s attempts at comedy are mostly drawn out to insufferable levels. It’s as if the film is expanded on a punchline that the audience already get the jest of, making the dialogue sound like unimportant waffling and an overall uncomfortable viewing experience. But credit where credit is due, when some of the jokes are short and snappy it is good comedy.
For what it’s worth, however, Night School’s every scene is accompanied by a soundtrack that improved the comedy’s attempt to feel good, it settles the audience very well and when the films painful problems are nowhere to be seen it is a relaxing watch. Kevin Hart in the leading role of Teddy, a successful salesman and pathological liar, must steal the show, however, I was more interested in the role his co-star Tiffany Haddish plays. She plays Carrie the night school teacher whose performance was a lot quicker and energy filled than Kevin Hart. I found myself humoured more by her full of spirit nature, something that the other actors could not keep up with.
Something I thought I would never talk about in this review is how Night School is edited so abysmally. It makes the simplest editing mistakes that could be resolved in seconds. For instance, you can tell the film uses adlibbing because in once instance the actors say lines that don’t match the movement of their mouths. Another instance is a scene in which Teddy is dressed in a chicken costume and Carrie pulls the head of the costume off, but the way the scene cuts from one camera angle to the other repeats that action. There are other editing inconsistencies throughout the film, but it would take too long to thoroughly go through them all one by one. I guess somebody in the editing department didn’t quality check the work.
Because the editing is all over the place, the tone and identity of the film follow the same pattern. Night school has no idea how far it wants to push its comedy, certain comedic elements are thrown in that affect how goofy said elements are to the point where it throws the entire scene of course. One scene where Teddy is trying to not get distracted from studying, his I assume subconscious mind places the floating head of Carrie to distract him, not only that the head breaks the fourth wall by interacting in the scene. I expect this kind of amateur attempt of getting a laugh I a low budget sitcom with poor ratings, not a $29 million-dollar disorganised comedy that feels like a trash-bin SNL sketch.
If you’re a fan of Kevin Hart, you won’t care what the critics say, you won’t care what I say, you’re going to see Night School anyway, and I wish you have a funnier experience than I did. But for the rest of us who like an organised comedy, the film does a lot of wasting. It wastes the opportunity to turn a cliched narrative into something clever, it is pieced together terribly with no attempt to hide its mistakes and despite being the man you paid to see, Kevin Hart is massively disappointing. I had hoped and assumed that Hart was ready for the leading role, it turns out there is a lot more experience needed before attempting this career move again.
Final Result: 2/10 – Very Poor
Have you seen Night School? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below
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