‘Night School’ Review: Co-Stars Hart and Haddish didn’t quite reach their potential

In 2018’s newest comedy “Night School,” Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) attends an adult education class taught by Carrie (Tiffany Haddish.) Hearing that these two talented actors are co-starring in this film together was extremely promising. Haddish’s acting career just began to explode with her breakthrough role in “Girls Trip” and Kevin Hart has been on top of the comedy world for more than a decade. The talented duo are also joined by a hilarious supporting cast including Rob Riggle, Taran Killam and Romany Malco. Despite this dynamic cast, “Night School” struggled to live up to its promising expectations.

One of the biggest problems with Kevin Hart’s movies is that he seems to play the same character every time. He’s like the male version of Melissa McCarthy. “Night School” is no exception. Hart, like always, plays the insecure boyfriend on a mission to prove to the world that he’s worth more than the label society put on him. He frequently uses self-deprecating humor about his height and intelligence to get laughs from the audience. Without a doubt, Hart is one of the best in the business at playing this type of role, which is probably why he has found so much success in acting. It would be nice to see him switch his act up for a change though.

Despite never earning his high school diploma, Walker found a lot of success in life. He is a gifted salesman, soon to be promoted to store manager, he drives an awesome new Porsche and has a beautiful and successful fiancé (Megalyn Echikunwoke). It seems as though Walker has proven his high school nemesis Stewart (Killam) wrong in insisting he would never amount to anything due to his poor performance in school.

An unfortunate mishap at work involving a candle and a propane grill leaves Walker jobless and in need of his GED to get hired elsewhere. He ends up enrolling in a night class taught by the strong-willed and passionate Carrie. The class is full of an interesting group of misfit adults who each have their own dreams and goals post-GED. Walker’s classmates deliver some of the funniest lines throughout the film. Riggle, who has always stood out as being excellent in a supporting role, does a great job. Riggle plays “Mac,” a clueless father who frequently screws up the “study plans” of the rest of the group.

Stewart, who interestingly enough is now the principle of Walker’s night school class, is another standout character of the film. He has grown into an extremely strict principle who has a zero tolerance policy for nonsense. His vengeful attempts to mess up Walker’s life in any way possible had the audience cracking up throughout the film.

Despite great performances from the supporting characters, it didn’t seem as though Hart and Haddish had the opportunity to shine. They spent most of their screen time hammering home the lessons of the film. Lessons like persevering through failure, accepting yourself and appreciating the importance of dedicated teachers were all nice touches to the story. However, there have been hundreds of films that have expressed those same lessons in a more impactful way. “Night School” needed to focus less on teaching the audience a lesson and more on allowing their lead actors to be funny. For this reason, the powerhouse duo of Hart and Haddish never got to demonstrate their true potential.

As with all Kevin Hart movies, “Night School” received a decent amount of laughs from the audience. I couldn’t help but feeling a little disappointed by the end, though. This cast had the potential to produce something really special.

Rating: 2.5/5


Matt Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.souvigney@uconn.edu.