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Night School


Stars: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Taran Killam, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz, Anne Winters

Director: Malcolm D Lee

This knockabout Hart farce is lazy, raucous, sometimes funny and really needs to be seen with a full cinema audience.

Our eye-popping, diminutive star with the strangulated voice plays Teddy Walker, a failure at school who has taken that into life, though he does have a delicious willowy girlfriend, Lisa (what can she see in him?), played by Echikunwoke - but is still browbeaten by his burly father (Keith David).

Enlisting at night school in his mid thirties against the wishes of the college head (Killam) whom he had embarrassed at school, Teddy, still smarting from the failure of his latest business venture, finds himself with a handful of fellow no-hopers and troublemakers, soon coming under the tongue-lash of curvaceous but crow-voiced teacher Carrie (Haddish).

She soon diagnoses Teddy as dyslexic, dyscalculic and dys-practically everything else. 'My God,' squeaks the hapless Hart. 'I got learning herpes.'

His solution: coercing his fellow-students into stealing test results. When Carrie tells them that their papers are suspiciously perfect, plank-thick Big Mac (Riggle) promptly gives the game away by protesting that his couldn't have been perfect as he deliberately left one or two things out.

Taking a job in a 'Christian chicken' joint to make ends meet, Teddy is then given the rough treatment in the school wrestling ring by Haddish in an attempt to make him focus and learn.

For all its faults, the film does neatly blindside you at the end into thinking that Lisa will dump Teddy (which she does), leaving him in the arms of Haddish - but things don't work out that way. It gets over-sentimental on us at the end, but even that shows that the film does have something to say.

Not even the film's makers would probably claim this as classic comedy (how did it take six people to write it?), but relax and you'll have a not unpleasant evening. And, if you really want to see Rajskub (Chloe from TV's 24 and wryly stealing all her scenes) twerking at the school prom, well, this is your moment.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Fujicolor.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 27 Sep 2018