Success is a squishy thing, and frankly, so is intelligence. Kevin Hart’s character in the new comedy Night School, coming to theaters September 28, may not be book smart per se—in fact, his character might be “clinically dumb”—but he’s people-smart, and up until this point in his life that’s all he’s needed to thrive. As a top salesman at a sprawling BBQ emporium, he’s just living life and slinging grills like he’s Hank Hill, until a gas leak blows up his grand proposal (literally), and throws him out of his self-made, street-smart success and straight into the windshield of his sports car.
If you had any confusion about what kind of movie this is, well, it’s the kind that plays badly burnt buttocks for laughs. Absolutely no complaints here! And speaking of sick burns, watching both Hart and his certified-hilarious co-star Tiffany Haddish take a school administrator (SNL’s Taran Killam) to task for using his “black voice” is, in the parlance of our times, hella spicy.
Because there are apparently no other grill superstores in Texas—suspension of disbelief much?—Hart is forced to consider a “career pivot,” but in order to snag the stockbroker job magnanimously gate-kept by Ben Schwartz (AKA Parks and Recreation’s Jean-Ralphio), he’s got to go back and finish a few classes to get his GED. Enter Haddish as his no-nonsense night-school teacher, Killam as the principal, and a cast of kooks (including one Skyped-in inmate) as his classmates, and bam!—You’ve got the recipe for silly school scenarios, over-the-top gags, and ridiculous hijinks, including a bizarre-but-funny second-act nadir featuring a deeply religious fried chicken chain and a leather belt.
Director Malcolm D. Lee has already struck gold with Haddish in the hilarious and raunchy Girls’ Night, and if we weren’t already all-in for Night School based on that, we’d be all-in based solely on this trailer. Watching Haddish confidently hold her own opposite one of the most high-profile and high-key comedians working right now is a total treat. Who even cares who bit Beyoncé?