Night School 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Kevin Hart has ascended to a point in his career that he can take on a movie like NIGHT SCHOOL and elevate it to an acceptable level without much help. But having the rising Tiffany Haddish star with him in the film was a good move because she’s also quickly approaching a point where she can make a movie worthwhile just by being in it. And the words “acceptable” and “worthwhile” just about sum up NIGHT SCHOOL. It has a couple of funny moments and keeps things moving, but it’s not consistently funny and it’s almost instantly forgettable.
The movie follows Teddy (Hart), a high school dropout that has made a nice living selling outdoor furniture. He has a beautiful girlfriend and a good life, even if he is swimming in debt. But things take a turn for the worse when his business goes up in flames and he’s forced to find another job. The problem is that no one wants to hire a high school dropout, so he hatches a plan to go back and get his GED. His night school teacher is Carrie (Haddish) and he instantly clashes with her when he tries to take the easy way out. But somehow, he and his class of misfits have to find a way to get through the class and get their lives back on track.
On a slightly serious note, one of the questions I have about NIGHT SCHOOL is if it’s offensive or not. I remember towards the end of it’s run, ‘The Cosby Show’ was embroiled in some minor controversy for depicting Theo as dumb. To combat this, they gave Theo a learning disability. The same thing kind of happens in NIGHT SCHOOL. The premise of the movie is based on the idea that Teddy is dumb and can’t get past school. But Carrie discovers that he’s not actually dumb, he just has a series of serious learning disabilities that impacts the way he learns. I don’t have a learning disability nor am I close to anyone that does, but I can’t help shake the feeling that if I were more sensitive to the issue, watching a teacher punch a student in the face to overcome said disability would be slightly offensive to me. Or, maybe I’m just taking it too seriously.
The filmmakers aren’t oblivious to the issue or the seriousness of what they’re dealing with. However, the tones get mixed at times when you see Haddish and Hart yelling insults all around in one scene and then talking about his struggles in another. The whole thing makes for movie that doesn’t always know what it wants to be and only succeeds at not being that funny or being that heart warming. There’s a large part of me that wishes they had just gone for a straight up comedy and had more fun with it. We all know Hart and Haddish have the skills to make audiences laugh for 2+ hours. Going full-on comedy would have also allowed them to trim some fat since the near two -hour run time was at least 30 minutes too long.
Both Hart and Haddish have starred in much better, funnier movies, but NIGHT SCHOOL should be more than enough to please their fans. It’s silly and dumb at times, but again, it offers just enough to make it worthwhile.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: NIGHT SCHOOL is another upscaled 2K master that has all of the improvements we’ve come to expect. Close-ups are sharper and more detailed, settings show more color and depth and there’s a nice improvement across the entire film.
Audio: This is a dialogue heavy movie, but the DTS:X track does it justice and sounds wonderful.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which has the following special features:
Commentary with Malcolm D. Lee: Lee gives a good commentary and touches on just about every aspect of filmmaking, including some of the more sensitive subjects in the film.
Deleted Scenes (13:30): Seven deleted scenes in total, none of which were very funny.
Gag Reel: There’s a five minute gag reel on the 4K and an eleven minute gag reel on the Blu-ray.
Featurettes (30:22): Eight short featurettes cover a variety of aspects of the film, starting with the introduction to the characters and then some closer looks at some key scenes.