I know people who have a frightening resemblance to Jack Black in this movie. In fact, Black’s external passion for rock music is the equivalent to my internal love for it. You see, I could never act this goofy and get away with it.
School Of Rock caught me completely off guard with its music knowledge, comedy, and heart. Director Richard Linklater (a well-known director in the low budget realms) and writer/co-star Mike White have created a film that is impossible to dislike in my opinion. It has something for everyone, even if you aren’t as keen on rock music as me…or Jack Black.
In the film, Black plays Dewey Finn, guitarist for a local rock band who is trying to break it into the big-time. After some on stage antics, his fellow band mates vote him out of the band. His roommate, Ned (White), is a substitute teacher. Dewey is way behind on rent, and desperately needs money. When a well-to-do school calls the apartment looking for a sub, Dewey poses as Ned.
He starts by giving the class unlimited recess, but soon forms and a plan after hearing the class playing music in music class. Why not form a band with the class and enter the local Battle Of The Bands contest? Sounds like a plan to me.
The class manages to practice their songs without being noticed (mainly by the principal, played by Joan Cusack), thanks to the jobs that Dewey has given everyone. We have the core band itself, along with “groupies,” backup singers, security, and dancers. Will Dewey and a bunch of ten-year-olds get to live out the rock dream?
School Of Rock has given me a new ray of hope for mainstream comedy, and a large part of the credit goes to Jack Black. His love for rock music is completely contagious and very realistic (believe me…I’ve seen Dewey Finn clones). Because of the comedic material, his performance will likely be overlooked here, but I would venture so far as to call it ingenious. The only other actor I could possibly envision in this role is the late Chris Farley.
Best of all, the film never sells out to itself. It is very much a heartwarming film, but it always keeps its love for rock music at the forefront. The kids also manage not to be cardboard stereotypes, like one might expect from a film like this.
As a final note, I have no clue why this movie is rated PG-13. It has a dash of Jack Black crudeness, but little else. I cannot imagine any child not finding this movie funny.
Prepare to be surprised by School Of Rock. It won me over from minute one, and Black should be given an enormous amount of credit for carrying the heart of the film on his shoulders. Rock on!
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Length: 108 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for some rude humor and drug references.
Theatrical Release: October 3, 2003
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Joey Gaydos Jr., Miranda Cosgrove