Night School

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Night School Movie Poster Image
Crude, profanity-heavy comedy also offers real lessons.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the randy/over-the-top humor are messages about everyone deserving a second chance and that honesty matters and character counts. Also, struggling students should seek testing for learning disabilities. A good, caring teacher can change a student's life for the better.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A successful woman is shown to value integrity over wealth, power, success. While film dodges stereotypes in depicting a lesbian character, other characters are one-dimensional clichés. Plus, main character is dishonest, leads others to be dishonest as well; any consequences are short-lived. 

Violence

All depictions of violence/injury are played for laughs (and don't have any blood): A huge, fiery explosion hurtles a body out of a building. A person falls from a height and is visibly injured. A woman whips a man with a belt. In an MMA ring, a man is repeatedly punched. A lengthy prison fight shows inmates attacking, punching, kicking each other; it's implied that a supporting character knifes an attacker. Vomit spews from a character's mouth onto a person's face.

Sex

Two female characters (one a teenager) wear cleavage-revealing shirts. A woman wears skimpy lingerie. Characters sext. A running joke has a mother talking about anal sex (without using that exact term), suggesting that a teen engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with college professor. To try to distract a man, a woman offers herself sexually. Recurring joke involving pubic hair, not sexual. Several sexually suggestive conversations, including one involving a church pastor. A sex toy is shown. Characters talk about sexually transmitted diseases, hotel room sex, condoms, sperm, the sexual attractiveness of a female character (which she receives appreciatively). Teen pregnancy halts a woman's career aspirations. A character seems to search for porn, and a man says he'll be his wife's "porn star." Prison rape joke. The outsides of strip clubs are seen; later, busty women wearing only bras are seen near the clubs, suggesting that they're strippers. High school principal turns down a parent's offer of sex but makes a lewd comment about it to himself in private. Principal talks about touching a woman's breast.

Language

Heavy use of profanity: one "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "t-tties," "son of a bitch," "beav," "balls," "bitch," "boob," "booty," "butthole," "damn," "dammit," "d--k," "douche bag," "goddamn," "hell," "nipple," "stupid," and "sucks." Black characters use the "N" word. "Oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" are used as exclamations. Children are targets: Three kids are called "little bitches," a man threatens to punch a baby in the face, and a character says, "I hate my kids."

Consumerism

Brands mentioned/shown include Alliance MMA, Beats by Andre, Dell, MacBook Pro, McDonald's, Monster.com, Rainbow Shops, Rosetta Stone, Skype, Toyota Corolla, Porsche, Weber, and Zebra Athletics. Lead character wears FUBU shirt, Braves jersey, Everlast, Jansport backpack. Cactus House tacos are said to be good. One character is a Lyft driver; another works at Best Western. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters celebrate with champagne. A teen references getting caught with Molly; she faces consequences. A character mentions "smokes" (cigarettes). 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Night School is a racy comedy written and produced by Kevin Hart, who stars alongside Tiffany Haddish. Both are known and loved for their inappropriate humor, which is in full effect here. Viewers may well laugh at the movie's shock-value humor, but it frequently crosses into violence, sexually suggestive comments, and salty language. A married woman comes onto an educator; there are jokes about anal sex (not said explicitly, but implied), pubic hair, prison rape, and more; and characters frequently talk about sex/sex-related topics. Violent scenes (all bloodless) show an explosion, beatings/punches, someone falling from a great height, and more. Frequent strong language includes referring to women and children as "bitches" and black characters using the "N" word (there's also one use of "f--k"). Characters drink champagne, and a teen is caught with Molly. Hart's character works at the fictitious Christian Chicken, where the employee prayer circle is the butt of a joke (lots of other real-world brand names pop up constantly). All of that said, amid the crude humor and stereotypes are messages about second chances, honesty, and character. Also, struggling students should seek testing for learning disabilities, and a good teacher can change a student's life for the better.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 6, 7, 8, 17, and 17 year old Written byParzival _12 September 26, 2018

OK could have been better

Alright i guess plenty of iffy stuff sex jokes and sexual scenes but it was like crazy as explosions and crap so there is (4.5/5)in swearing (4/5in sex alright... Continue reading
Adult Written byNot Amused October 3, 2018

Absolutely Terrible

This is not a 12A film - more like 18. There is a lot of implied sexual content that really isn’t appropriate for kids even with an adult. The script is terribl... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byJerms September 26, 2018

Takes the Billy Madison/Adam Sandler man-child formula and makes it significantly less funny.

The title of this review should say it all. This film takes all the good parts of Adam Sandler's Billy Madison man-child formula and just makes them worse.... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byantonJH September 28, 2018

Awful!

This movie was just absolutely painful for me to sit through. After 40 minutes I just decided to walk out. The jokes were so juvenile, forced, race obsessed and... Continue reading

What's the story?

In NIGHT SCHOOL, Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) is a slick barbeque salesman who's on the brink of a perfect life: He's been promised a life-changing career opportunity, and the girl of his dreams (Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke) has agreed to marry him. But when Teddy's job disappears, he fears his fiancée will, too. He lies to her about having a new job while he sneaks away to a nightly G.E.D. prep class. Getting his G.E.D won't be easy: Teddy clashes with his feisty teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish); his struggles with test-taking still haunt him; and he must contend with his old high school enemy, Stewart (Taran Killam), who's now the school's principal. 

Is it any good?

Haddish and Hart are a comedic dream team: Her blunt, oh-no-you-didn't style is the perfect foil for Hart's brand of "let me explain" humor. Their scenes are laugh factories -- the moment Teddy and Carrie meet, the heat is palpable -- but the rest of the film falls flat. The storyline with Teddy's girlfriend is tiresome, and it drains the momentum from Hart's performance. And the script relies on getting laughs from insults, shocking sexual comments, and clichés/stereotypes (including Rob Riggle's muscle-headed dummy, Al Madrigal's Mexican immigrant with a thick accent, and Mary Lynn Rajskub's horny housewife).

The movie's "message" is a bit of a misdirect. It pretends to be about the importance of telling the truth, complete with a somber inspirational score rising under Teddy's big speech, in which he renounces his old ways and advises others that honesty is the best policy. By using that moment on something tried and true, director Malcolm D. Lee is able to slide in the movie's actual takeaway: A struggling student who's labeled as "dumb" might really have a learning difference. Carrie's solutions for helping Teddy are doubtful but can be forgiven, since this is intended as a light comedy. Very few films exist about dyslexia, and Night School may be the first to address dyscalculia and auditory processing disorders. Disguised as a laugh fest with two of Hollywood's hottest comics, Night School cleverly and unexpectedly provides an education on what it's like to have learning differences and how they can be overcome. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Teddy felt intimidated to take tests. How did his family treat him? Were you aware of all of the types of learning differences that Teddy was diagnosed with?

  • How does Teddy demonstrate perseverance? Is that a consistent character trait, or one he develops only at the end of the movie? How does his perseverance pay off?

  • How do you feel about all the swearing in the film? Does that make it feel more authentic, or do you think it's unnecessary or distracting?

  • What do you think is the "lesson" of Night School

  • Did you notice any stereotypes in the movie? If so, which ones? Is that OK?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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