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‘Night School’ perseveres with Haddish, Hart

October 12, 2018

John Gillispie shares his thoughts on “Night School,” which is rated PG-13 and currently playing in theaters.

Kevin Hart stars as Teddy Walker, whose life is changed by tough night-school instructor Carrie (Tiffany Haddish).

“Night School” begins in 2001 with Teddy having anxiety over a standardized test and leaving high school, but not before he embarrasses classmate Stewart (Taran Killam).

The movie quickly moves to the present day in which Teddy is a successful barbecue grill salesman who is in line to take over the business.

However, his career goes up in smoke after proposing to his fiancee Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke). Teddy turns to his friend Marvin (Ben Schwartz) for career advice and Marvin thinks he can help Teddy land a job at his company if he can complete his GED.

So, Teddy finds himself in night school with a handful of other students who have interesting stories to tell, including Mary Lynn Rajskub as Theresa, who would like a job outside the home and more respect from her husband and family, and Luis (Al Madrigal), who has lost his job as a waiter at a nice restaurant because of Teddy.

For me, “Night School” really gets going when the characters played by Hart and Haddish meet and start trading verbal barbs.

Haddish is very funny in her role and she and Hart work well together. Also, Stewart is now the principal at Teddy’s old high school, where night classes are offered, and he is not very happy to see his classmate again.

There is some edgy humor in “Night School” and an over-the-top but funny plan by the classmates to steal an exam, the movie focuses on the friendships created by characters whose paths might not have crossed if not for night school.

While “Night School” is not always very realistic, it does offer some laughs and positive feelings about the importance of emotional support from friends and family members and the power of perseverance.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.

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