Night School (2018): ‘Let’s Look at Contemporary Rom Coms/Comedies’ – A Film Review


Introduction

Comedy films and Rom Coms can certainly get the lower side of a nose. Night School is the most recent Kevin Hart vehicle, capitalising on his humour and popularity and expanding his acting filmography to include more starring roles. The problem that many of these films can have is that they, by their nature, require a feel good and safe atmosphere to nurture their audiences. This can require attitudes that are relatively simple, light-hearted and subtle. Politics, realism and the darker sides of human nature aren’t exactly the focus. Usually coming across like an age-old fantasy retold and the same as many before. However, romantic comedies can certainly hold a moral compass for human interaction, that can be both comforting and guiding for audiences. Dialogue, performances and banter can be shockingly clever. But let’s look at Night School

 

Ode to Kevin Hart

So, it should go without saying that the film is incredibly reliant on Kevin Hart – as the protagonist and evident writer of a lot of the banter and jokes. Certainly, a good rom com or comedy should have excellent performances as it is primarily in the characters that the film concerns itself. We usually get a lot of similar set ups and a lot of similar plot devices to many other films previously made and Night School is no exception. Though there are added character flaws that also bleed into the visual style that can be interesting, it is however, superficial to the rest of what’s going on and isn’t explored in any depth. It becomes nothing more than a character flaw or injury for the characters to overcome. Rather predictable and clichéd, a lot happens that sets up characters that then, coincidentally, return later on down the line.

 

The Hart of Story

This isn’t to say that there is absolutely nothing to see in a film like Night School. Surprisingly, there is a step forward in equality and a step forward in gender roles, as well as in traditional character behaviours; it allows Night School‘s moral to be quite a good one in spite of everything. The plot devices may well be exactly the same as so many previous films but the film still tries to bring some good and modern values to the proceedings. SPOILERS: Kevin Hart is dishonest in the film and it leads to the cliché of his girlfriend finding out and being angry with him, but it does feed into a good theme and moral for the theme demonstrated brilliantly through her speech at this reveal. END OF SPOILERS. The film also focuses primarily on the comedy of the concept of characters going to night school, almost pushing the rom com plot to one side, and it is here that the film gets going. Sometimes the banter can verge on the annoying but it gets a laugh every once in a while.

 

Conclusion

Perhaps Night School was only ever trying to be just a cheap film. It entertains and carries good morals, that feel up to date, but there’s not much lasting impact. The film gets going properly as soon as you get to the central cast that revolves around the night school class but, as so much time has been devoted to the necessary set up, it doesn’t do that much with this. The cast do a fair amount with what they’ve got and have a bit of fun with it too, however the film is limited by the countless films that have done exactly the same before. This is no When Harry Met Sally… or Shaun of the Dead or even American Pie, but it’ll get the smile for 101minutes and no more.

 

Synopsis

Being a high school dropout and believing that he needs to act successful with expensive gifts, Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) decides to take up night school in order to gain a qualification and to get a job to pay off his debts and marry his fiancé.

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

American Pie (d. Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz USA 1999)

Night School (d. Malcolm D. Lee USA 2018)

Shaun of the Dead (d. Edgar Wright UK/France 2004)

When Harry Met Sally… (d. Rob Reiner USA 1989)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Kevin Hart & Tiffany Haddish

Interview with Kevin Hart

Interview with Malcolm D. Lee

A Look Inside

Bloopers

Criticism of Romantic Comedies

Some problems with Romantic Comedies

 

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Deadpool 2 (2018): ‘Marvels Loving Self Parody Sequel’ – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Night School (d. Malcolm D. Lee USA 2018)

 



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