Director: Malcolm D. Lee.
Comedy Director Malcom D. Lee, who’s at the forefront of African-American rich comedies like Undercover Brother, The Best Man Holiday and last years rather funny and enjoyable Girls Trip; directs Kevin Hart’s first commercially written film. Though not written alone, with a small number of credits of other comedy writer/directors such as Storks Nicholas Stoller and Why Him?’s John Hamburg.
It’s a story central to one Teddy Walker (Hart) a successful BBQ salesman who drives a Porsche and has an even more successful career driven fiancé. But due to some unfortunate mishaps, Walker becomes unemployed and is forced to return to night school in order to achieve his GED (now more of a brand name for academic skill as oppose to its original acronym of General Education Development), so to improve his career prospects and keep lavish lifestyle and of course, his fiancé.
He’s obviously not the only adult to be attending night classes and we meet a small bunch of equally silly characters that openly attacks stereotypes and the usual cultural tropes. Each of them bringing their own unique element to the movie and if I had to pick a favourite; it’s going to be Schwartz’s Mexican illegal immigrate, Marvin. But of course, the star, other than Hart is Carrie (Haddish) who is their strangely supportive yet badass and unorthodox teacher.
We easily have two of the most funniest people currently in Hollywood; Hart with his silly, comical behaviour and Haddish with her outrageous, filterless (not so harsh this time round though) attitude, so we should expect some good chemistry between the two; but sadly it falls a little flat and doesn’t work most of the time. You see the design behind it, but the parts that look like we’re suppose to be side-cracking moments just doesn’t make the grade. I believe the golden key to delivering good comedy is down to the timing, and whilst the editing here is on point, providing some genuine laugh out loud moments, the film flaps towards it’s finale and it’s proposed meaningful message misses it’s mark.
It’s the supporting cast that actually provides a lot of the jokes and it must have been a challenge to try balance out everyone’s part; though I feel there’s probably a lot of material left on the cutting room floor. And let it be noted, not that it drags, but this is a long film for its genre with a running time of 111min. Schwartz, Riggle, Rajskub and Malco all make funny classmates, though there wasn’t enough time afforded to Winters’ rebellious dropout, who I thought was brilliant in this year’s earlier Mom and Dad slasher comedy. Even’s Killam as Principle Stewart delivers here. But let’s be honest, when you go to see a film like this, you’re going for Hart and Haddish, hoping for that hilarious banter and not for the supporting cast.
It’s neither Hart’s or Haddish’s greatest or funniest movie but them aside, the rest of the cast provide some laughs. Though it definitely doesn’t get a pass grade and probably needs some more revision.
Running Time: 5
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 3
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
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