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Till This Night By Koko Heart

Till This Night By Koko Heart :::

All you really need to know about this movie is that it stars Hart, who's developed into modern American cinema's go-to Everyman clown; that Haddish is underused but still hilarious; that the supporting cast is filled with memorable eccentrics (including Keith David and Donna Biscoe as the hero's parents), and that it's directed by Malcolm Lee ("The Best Man" series, "Girls Trip"), a maestro of shenanigans. I have no idea how it'll play on a small screen, but on a big screen with an audience, it's a kick. Lee, his cast, and Lee's go-to editor Paul Millspaugh usually manage to find at least one laugh and two smaller ones even in scenes that feel slapped-together. (The credits list six screenwriters, including Lee and Hart.)

The classroom is a demographically diverse gang of lovable weirdos, all of whom have troubles of their own. Mackenzie (Rob Riggle) is a dropout who's been destroying his back working as a mover all his life, and wants a GED so he can get off the truck and move behind a desk. Teresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub) dropped out because she got pregnant by a domineering jerk that she's still married to. Luis (Al Madrigal) is a Latinx waiter Kevin contrived to have fired in a scene too complicated to go into here; he speaks mangled English and fantasizes of becoming the next Justin Bieber. Jaylen (Romany Malco) is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who's convinced that machines have taken over. Sometimes he stares into the distance and you just know he's imagining the opening of "The Terminator." A felon named Bobby (Fat Joe) is attending night school via Skype. He takes his lessons so seriously that when he's interrupted by an attempted shanking, he roars, "I'm trying to learn!" as he thrashes his attackers. And so on. They all have big (or small) dreams, like Teddy. But because night school is just too demanding, they start dreaming up shortcuts to graduation. And that's where the trouble starts.

Admittedly there are probably only a handful of people who find this kind of material funny (reviewer sheepishly raises hand). But it's to the credit of Lee and his collaborators that "Night School" pitches a comedic tent big enough to contain something silly for everyone. Thinking back on the movie, I'm torn between wanting it to be more than it is, and being impressed that something so loosely assembled didn't instantly fall apart. It's overlong and shaggy, and alternately too thin and too dense, and it keeps veering into sentiment that it doesn't entirely earn. But in the end, you still feel for the characters, because the actors are so appealing, and because the movie understands that even though most films rarely utter the initials GED, in the world beyond the screen, it's a goal worth sacrificing for.

The next day, Daiki makes amends with his teammates. As they spend time together preparing for the musical, Jun starts to develop feelings for Takumi, while Daiki starts to develop feelings for Jun. Daiki asks Takumi about his relationship with Natsuki, having heard rumors that both of them were dating during middle school, but Takumi denies this since Natsuki had told her classmates that they were not dating when she was asked. Natsuki also tells Daiki that she currently has a boyfriend. On the night before the musical, Takumi asks Natsuki about the boy she's dating currently, leading Natsuki to finally reveal that the boy she's referring to is none other than Takumi himself before she accuses him of falling in love with Jun. Takumi reveals that while he is concerned about Jun, he is not in love with her and he has always regretted not trying to convey his feelings for Natsuki during middle school even when he was aware of her feelings for him at that time. Unbeknownst to them, Jun overhears their conversation. Heartbroken, she runs away and meets the fairy egg, who reveals that she has worsened the curse by trying to convey her feelings for Takumi. Jun doesn't show up on the day of the musical, leaving Natsuki to fill her ro


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