Night School

In Cinemas Now

Kevin Hart co-writes and stars as a guy forced to attend night school to pass his high school GEDs in this comedy from Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee. Tiffany Haddish, one of the stars of Girls Trip, co-stars as the school teacher who goes to incredible lengths to help her student improve - which includes laying the smackdown on him within a UFC cage.

The release of raucous comedy Girls Trip last year put two names firmly on the map as ones to watch in comedy: director Malcolm D. Lee and actress Tiffany Haddish who was quickly agreed to be the unselfconscious comedienne this era has been waiting for. It should be good news then, that the two have teamed up once again, this time for Kevin Hart vehicle Night School. Sadly, it most definitely is not. 

Hart stars as Teddy, a high school drop-out turned BBQ salesman who lives well beyond his means to convince his girlfriend of his alpha-male status. When things go catastrophically awry, however, Teddy finds himself out of work and desperate to get his high school diploma to further his career prospects.

Enter Haddish, a straight-talking high school teacher whose night school class Teddy reluctantly attends, along with a slew of other misfits. As the pressure builds for Teddy to overcome his learning difficulties and pass the exam, bonds are built, his relationship is tested and, of course, shenanigans ensue. 

Weirdly paced, sloppily edited and numbingly undynamic, there are occasional hints that, with some finessing, Night School could even have been ok (gags centred around a Christian themed chicken joint, for instance, definitely had potential). Sadly, however, the overall result is basically a mess of dated jokes, retrograde themes and wasted talent.

With such a talented cast (the likes of Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Romany Malco all appear to be doing their best), it is almost remarkable how much Night School consistently misses the mark. In Haddish’s case this is particularly disappointing: with next to no good material and shockingly little screen time she still manages to outshine Hart and deserves so much better.

Night School insists that there are always second chances: For Lee, who demonstrated genuine comedy brilliance with Girls Trip, one can only hope this is true.

Los Angeles Times

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For all her improvisational skill and that of her top-billed costar, the much-vaunted Hart-and-Haddish pairing never pays dividends. It feels more like Half-and-Half.

Rolling Stone

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Only a fool would say that Hart and Haddish aren't hilarious. But only a dumbass would argue that their new comedy isn't the worst kind of lazy, laughless, paycheck-begging twaddle.

The Guardian

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All the ingredients for a perfectly reasonable comedy would appear to be in place, but nothing catches fire, basically because Hart really has no one to play off.

Vanity Fair

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Let me just rain on your parade upfront, to get it out of the way: Night School is not the big Girls Trip follow-up film for Tiffany Haddish that you might have been hoping for.

FilmInk (Australia)

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Kevin Hart has officially struck rock bottom...

Hollywood Reporter

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Night School has a lot to learn about how to live up to its potential, but it squeaks out a passing grade in the end.

Variety (USA)

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A movie starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish shouldn't leave you with the lingering sensation that its concept would have worked a lot better on the small screen.

New York Times

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You can't help but think that someone should put these two in a movie together. A real movie, which "Night School," like more than a few big studio features these days, isn't quite.

NewsHub (Daniel Rutledge)

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A lot of the jokes miss - some in a very cringe-inducing way - but there are enough to make it easy enough to giggle along.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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Night School might just be enough for a lazy Friday night if you're happy to set the bar somewhere damn near subterranean.