Malcolm D. Lee has directed some pretty decent films — Undercover Brother, The Best Man, Roll Bounce, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Soul Men and Girls Trip. Now, he’s sending Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish — and some pretty great supporting actors — to Night School.
Also — don’t get this one confused with 1981 Americanized giallo Night School, which has a woman’s head cut off and put in a pot of stew that people eat out of.
Teddy Walker (Hart) dropped out of school when he couldn’t concentrate on his college prep tests. But it all seemed to work out — he’s going to inherit the grill store he’s worked at since his teens, a fancy lifestyle (that he can’t afford) and a wealthy girlfriend named Lisa.
Things blow up — literally — when he accidentally blows up the shop while proposing. That leads to a financial and personal tailspin that finds him going back to get his GED so that he can work with his friend Marvin (Ben Schwartz from Parks and Recreation).
He goes back to his old high school for classes, only to learn that the person he bullied the most, Stewart (Taran Killam), is now the principal. Luckily, he’s able to get into Carrie’s (Haddish) night school class. And when he’s not studying, he’s working in a religious fried chicken restaurant (to deflect potential piracy, this movie was shipped to theaters as “Christian Chickens”).
The rest is pretty much comedy by the numbers, but it is livened up by the cast. Rob Riggle is always great in everything that he does. Many only know Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24, but I remember her from Mr. Show and she’s always hilarious when given a chance to shine. I saw Al Madrigal do standup a few years back and am always excited to see him get the chance to be a success. Fat Joe is, well, Fat Joe, but still pretty fun. And any movie that has Keith David in the cast is going to make me happy.
This is pretty much as mainstream as the movies I watch can get, but there were still some fun moments. It’s not the greatest back to school movie (I mean, when a movie is called Back to School it should own that title), but it’ll cause a few laughs.