By Kaylee Brewster
If you are looking for a comedy with entertaining characters and a few good laughs, “Night School” passes the test.
Teddy (Kevin Hart) has it all: a nice job, a cool car and a girl way out of his league.
The only thing he doesn’t have is a high school diploma, which isn’t a problem until he loses his job and can’t get another without a GED. So Teddy enrolls in night school with a class full of wacko characters and a strict teacher.
The teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish), is focused on getting her students to pass, by any non-cheating means necessary. This means taking an unconventional approach with Teddy that contains more than a few groans from Teddy but plenty of laughs from the audience. Haddish and Hart work together for maximum comedic effort.
The class also features students like Theresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a mom going back to school to get away from her family; Mila (Anne Winters), who only attends to avoid juvie; Big Mac (Rob Riggle), Jaylen (Romany Malco) and Luis (Al Madrigal), three middle-aged men looking for a career change; and an ex-con (Fat Joe) attending via Skype.
This crew rounds out the cast with plenty of hilarious situations and jokes. Theresa complains about her family life before quickly changing her mind and saying she’s “blessed,” Jaylen rambles about machines taking over the world, and Big Mac is unable to grasp even the simplest concept.
The film’s believability is a strength. The characters’ reasons for getting a GED are real reasons people return to school. Carrie’s care and dedication to students reflects the passion teachers have for their jobs. She gets Teddy tested for learning disabilities and he discovers why high school was such a struggle for him.
This adds some heart and character development as Teddy grows as a student and learns how his disabilities hindered him in the past. He is not dumb, he just learns differently, and Carrie helps him be the best student he can.
But “Night School” doesn’t get all the answers right. At times the plot is slow and the jokes go on too long or flop altogether. Thanks to the crazy cast of characters, it passes as a comedy if you grade on a curve.