Comedies are supposed to make people laugh. It‚Äôs simple. Their only job is to be humorous and hopefully leave the audience in a better mood than when they entered the theater.
When a comedy fails at doing that job, the result is often a confused and disappointed audience that regrets spending its money to see that movie.
‚ÄúNight School,‚ÄĚ the latest comedy starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, delivers the latter.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (‚ÄúGirls Trip‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúScary Movie 5‚ÄĚ), ‚ÄúNight School‚ÄĚ depicts a man named Teddy (Hart) who, after he loses his job as a salesman, fears his fiance will leave him if he doesn‚Äôt get a new, well-paying job. To avoid that, he goes back to school to get his GED. Teddy quickly finds the schoolwork to be a little more difficult than he anticipated, though the teacher (Haddish) is determined to help Teddy pass by any teaching means necessary.
Most people have at least one class they took in high school or college they just didn‚Äôt have any interest in. They might have put some effort into the class toward the beginning of the semester, but ultimately it was too boring to be worth the money spent on it.
‚ÄúNight School‚ÄĚ is the comedic movie equivalent of that class.
While there are some humorous moments in ‚ÄúNight School,‚ÄĚ the amount of jokes that didn‚Äôt work and the film‚Äôs confusing message prove to be too much for the movie to handle.
Let‚Äôs start with the message the film tries to present.
‚ÄúNight School‚ÄĚ is trying to highlight the old ‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt ask a fish to climb a tree‚ÄĚ theme, which is admirable. However, it handles that message very poorly. At some points in the film, they seem to be arguing that stupidity in general just doesn‚Äôt exist. They do this through the development of the characters and the conversations between Haddish and Hart’s characters. It‚Äôs almost as if the film believes there are no stupid people in the world.
While that might be a nice thought to have, it‚Äôs simply untrue. Stupidity exists. It can often be found pretty much wherever you look. I don‚Äôt believe that message is necessarily what Lee wanted to present in his film, but that‚Äôs the way it seemed. It is a result of poor execution of ideas.
Additionally, the film‚Äôs humor seems to fly in the face of that major fish-climbing-tree theme.
Most of the humor in ‚ÄúNight School‚ÄĚ consists of jokes saying ‚ÄúHey! Look how stupid and weird these characters are!‚ÄĚ The students in Teddy‚Äôs night school class are the cardboard cutout, idiotic characters you‚Äôd expect to be written by an eight-year-old. There‚Äôs the jock who doesn‚Äôt seem to understand anything, the overly excited woman who confidently gets every answer wrong and a few racial stereotypes as well.
That kind of humor mixed with the film‚Äôs failed ‚Äúnobody is stupid‚ÄĚ message comes off as incredibly distasteful, and I‚Äôm not entirely sure who thought this was a good idea.
‚ÄúNight School‚ÄĚ is the kind of comedy that should stay in 2018. After it‚Äôs done playing in theaters, we should all just agree to never talk about it again. This isn‚Äôt the type of comedy we still want to be making in 10 years. We‚Äôre better than that.