“Night School” – Shortcuts make long delays

By Zita Lam

There’s a reason I am not a successful musician, despite how much I wanted to be a pianist in my young days. It was a weird time in my music attainments where I wasn’t good enough to play songs that contain more than four flats, per se; but I was sneaky enough to switch the key so I can play fewer sharps instead.

If it seems confusing to you, it is pretty much how I feel right now after years of not practicing. My music teacher always says, there is no shortcut in life. As an impatience teenager, I was eager to show the world my artistic side. I practiced only to impress the others. I didn’t want to spend hours in front of the piano, and in order to learn a song quicker, I took a shortcut. Years had passed by, and I wasn’t improving. I convinced myself that I didn’t have the talent, so I moved on.

Therefore, when Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) walks out on his GED exam in the “Night School” movie, it feels completely normal to me. This is what we do, isn’t it? We aren’t good enough for certain things so we do what we good at, is it wrong?

Twenty years later, Teddy has become a successful salesman who drives a luxury car and has a beautiful fiancé. The illusion of him being an accomplished man is shattered when an accident causes him to find a new job. He then realizes the importance of a GED, in which leading him to go back to his old high school for night classes.

Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) is a passionate teacher who believes hard work is the key to success.
Teddy is immediately seen as a “troubled student” due to his concentration issues and the lack of academic ability. Instead of studying, Teddy plans to steal the midterm paper along with his classmates Big Mac (Rob Riggle), Jaylen (Romany Malco), Theresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Mila (Anne Winters), Luis (Al Madrigal), and Bobby (Fat Joe).

Teddy is on the edge of being kicked out of the night school, so he promises Carrie not to find shortcuts in life anymore. In fact, the reason that he struggles in learning is because of dyslexia, dyscalculia, and various processing issues. Carrie doesn’t allow these problems to get in the way so she designs a new learning system for Teddy to cope. At the end of the day, it is Teddy’s decision to be consistent, or not.

“Night School’ is a typical Kevin Hart’s movie where the storyline is easy to digest and the message is clear to absorb. Honesty – whether to yourself or to the world – is also the main highlight of the movie. When we decide certain things are “not for us,” have we ever asked ourselves that “how determined we really are?”

The reason I didn’t become a successful musician is not only because I am not talented, but it is also because I didn’t work hard enough. I realized that when I sat in front of the piano another day, spending a long time to get every note correctly in a song I once considered giving up. I failed and I tried again. Isn’t it the right attitude we should have in life?