NIGHT SCHOOL

"Hit and Miss Comedy with a Heart"

NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

NIGHT SCHOOL is the story of a high school dropout who suddenly needs to get a GED diploma 20 years later, and the comically bizarre night school teacher and classmates he contends with along the way. NIGHT SCHOOL has a moral, pro-capitalist worldview promoting hard work, education, second chances, and acknowledgements of Christian prayer, but it’s marred by some foul language, sexual innuendoes and irreverent portrayals of a Christian chicken restaurant patterned after Chick-fil-A.

Review:

NIGHT SCHOOL is the story of a high school dropout, who suddenly needs to get a GED diploma 20 years later, and the comically bizarre night school teacher and classmates he confronts along the way. NIGHT SCHOOL has a moral, pro-capitalist worldview promoting hard work, education, second chances, and acknowledgements of Christian prayer, but it’s marred by some foul language, sexual innuendoes and irreverent portrayals of a Christian chicken restaurant patterned after Chick-fil-A.

NIGHT SCHOOL stars Kevin Hart as Teddy Walker, a fast-talking hustler who works successfully as a salesman for a store called BBQ City, selling backyard grills while cruising around Atlanta in a fancy car with a beautiful girlfriend. Teddy’s living way beyond his means and hides the fact that he’s a high school dropout from his girlfriend. When he accidentally explodes the store while proposing to her after hours, a friend offers Teddy a job selling investments, but on one condition: that he finish his GED.

Teddy had always hated school, unaware that he suffered from a combination of learning disabilities that made it nearly impossible for him to learn anything. He warily walks into a night school GED class taught by a sassy woman named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) and surrounded by an assortment of well-cast weirdos, with unique issues of their own. Teddy’s surprised to discover a real chance to better his life.

Along the way, he’s got two other unexpected challenges: the embarrassment of working as a sign-spinner while dressed in a chicken suit for a ridiculous restaurant called Christian Chicken that’s an over-the-top spoof of Chick-Fil-A, and the fact that his old high-school nemesis, Stewart (Taram Killam), is now his principal.

NIGHT SCHOOL should be a hugely funny movie due to its two leads, who are among the hottest comics in the world right now. Its supporting cast is also filled with an impressive number of veteran comic talents who give it their all. It should also be noted that Director Malcolm D. Lee has had a string of comedy hits with GIRLS TRIP, THE BEST MAN and BEST MAN HOLIDAY.

Yet, NIGHT SCHOOL is very hit-or-miss with its humor. NIGHT SCHOOL has six writers, a ridiculously high number that leads this occasionally funny movie into being a jumbled mess with abrupt tonal shifts. It also features one of the most embarrassing movie scores to be heard in years. Somehow, though, its underlying goofy energy and positive message about the importance of education and second chances should leave most moviegoers feeling entertained, as long as they’re not expecting high art.

However, NIGHT SCHOOL isn’t appropriate for children or young teenagers. That’s mostly due to a schizophrenic tendency to veer between some crass sexual humor and an admirable amount of positive messages of hard work, the importance of education and the idea that it’s never too late to improve one’s life. There are also touching moments of reconciliation between Teddy, his estranged girlfriend and his father, who has always mocked him.

Teddy’s job at a restaurant called Christian Chicken has him wearing a chicken suit while holding a sign out front that says its food is “heavenly,” and yelling “Honk once if you love chicken, honk twice if you love the Lord!” There’s also a scene where he tries to break free from taking part in an employee prayer circle. This scenes and the restaurant’s overly happy Christian boss sometimes appear to be mocking Christians. Also, the repressed housewife in Teddy’s class keeps describing her hard and disappointing life and then snapping out of her depression robotically and saying “we’re blessed!” The movie contrasts this irreverent humor with three key serious moments in the movie, where Teddy and two other characters are shown making a sincere Sign of the Cross and looking up to Heaven.

NIGHT SCHOOL is funny enough to make it enjoyable for most moviegoers. Also, its pro-capitalist, morally uplifting messages leave viewers with a positive feeling, despite the movie’s crude humor and excessive foul language.

Content:

(BB, CapCap, Ab, Ho, C, LLL, V, S, NN, A, DD, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral, pro-capitalist worldview stresses hard work, education, perseverance, honesty, the idea that it’s never too late to change one’s life for the better, and a positive relationship between a man and a woman that doesn’t rely on sex, marred by some foul language, sexual innuendoes, a woman claims she’s a lesbian and likes women, and mixed irreverent portrayals of a Christian chicken restaurant patterned after Chick-fil-A, but at three crucial moments in the movie people make the sign of the Cross and look toward Heaven and their silent prayers seem to be answered;

Foul Language:
About 27 obscenities (including one “f” word), seven GDs, four light profanities, one “n” word, the word “booty” is used to female buttocks, and there are some references to pubic hairs;

Violence:
Comic violence includes man accidentally causes a comical but big explosion at his workplace that closes down the business, female teacher uses Mixed Martial Arts with comic intensity to get the lead character to focus better and overcome learning disabilities by throwing him around and kicking him and punching him, man jumps off a roof to get away from capture by a school principal during a break-in he’s doing and lands comically wrong, the fall from the roof bruises the man’s body in multiple ways before another man gets nauseous from seeing the fall and the resulting twisted heap of a body, and the other man vomits on him;

Sex:
Sexual innuendoes at several points, such as a repressed housewife refers to anal sex when citing rappers talking about “cracking that open like a walnut, housewife later tells husband she wants to have “sex that doesn’t cause a baby, Fifty Shades of Grey type sex” to which he responds, “I’ll be your porn star,” lead character sexts with his girlfriend and then looks at her lustfully while she’s sleeping with her rear end exposed because she’s wearing a thong, girlfriend is seen in lingerie in another scene while trying to seduce protagonist into coming home early for sex, a woman says she’s a lesbian, and to cheat on an expensive restaurant bill and get it comped, the lead character pulls pubic hairs out of his pants and puts them in his dessert before claiming he just found them there and wants to get the whole bill free;

Nudity:
Rear female nudity when protagonist’s girlfriend wears a thong, woman in lingerie;

Alcohol Use:
Social drinking in several scenes;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No tobacco, but woman asks a man if he wants to smoke a marijuana joint, but he declines; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Several people break into school to try and steal a test rather than study but they wind up getting caught and are shown learning to study hard and succeed honestly later, lead character lies about much of his life to impress his wealthy girlfriend but comes to realize he was wrong and admits it and becomes honest, and lead character tries to bribe or sweet-talk his way to getting a GED degree without having to work hard, but fails and learns to work hard.

In Brief:

NIGHT SCHOOL stars Kevin Hart as Teddy Walker, a fast-talking hustler who works as a salesman for a store called BBQ City, selling backyard grills while cruising around Atlanta in a fancy car with a beautiful girlfriend. Teddy’s living way beyond his means and hides the fact that he’s a high school dropout from his girlfriend. When he accidentally explodes the store while proposing to her after hours, a friend offers Teddy a job selling investments, but on one condition: he must finish his GED. So, Teddy attends a night school with a sassy teacher surrounded by an assortment of well-cast weirdos.

NIGHT SCHOOL is a bit hit and miss with its comedy, but it has a moral, pro-capitalist worldview stressing hard work, honesty, education, and second chances. So, it’s uplifting and funny enough to make it an enjoyable experience for most moviegoers. However, it’s marred by lots of foul language, other lewd content, and some irreverent comedy surrounding a Christian chicken restaurant patterned after Chick-fil-A. There are positive references, though, to faith and prayer. MOVIEGDUIDE® advises extreme caution for NIGHT SCHOOL.