Let me go ahead and
say that this film is too energetic and too fun to even
consider giving it a negative review. Never in a
million years would I have thought I would have enjoyed a
film starring Jack Black about his posing as a substitute
teacher and turning his class of ten year olds into a rock
band. That idea would have sounded too absurd.
Nevertheless, this was the most surprising films of the
year, and possibly one of the most enjoyable.
Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, a burned out rock and
roller, whose dreams of super-stardom never really
amounted to very much. When a school calls for his
roommate -- they need him as a substitute -- he pretends
to be him and takes the job, mostly because he is in
serious need of some dough. But, when he takes over
the class, he realizes some immense musical talent and
opts to transform his class of ten year old prep kids into
ten year old rock gods. He assigns instruments to
the most talented kids and begins his quest for rock
greatness. Joan Cusack stars as Rosalie Mullins, the
As absurd as this plot sounds, the film takes itself
seriously throughout. Music is held in the highest
regard, and Jack Black is wholly believable with
everything he tries to pull off and everything he
accomplishes. The kids are immensely talented
actors, and Joan Cusack breaks the mold by not becoming
the stiff and unyielding bitch principal that we all
expect her to be. She is concerned for what is best
for the children and has a very warm heart. And,
Jack Black is the person who carries this comedy on his
very talented shoulders. He is so full of energy and
so full of his love for music that it just drips off the
screen and we find ourselves unable to turn away.
"School of Rock" was directed by the great
Richard Linklater, whose "Dazed & Confused"
defined a generation, and whose film "Tape" set
new standards for the way motion pictures can be filmed.
This is another one of his cinematic delights and will
certainly reintroduce him into the mainstream, not that he
really ever went anywhere. It is to his credit that
the ending of the film, the inevitable Battle of the Bands
competition, doesn't turn out to be just another
"Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit", but something
completely different and something completely engrossing.
Just because most of the ground in this film has been trod
before, doesn't mean it cannot perfect it. We might
know what is happening next, but we never know how it is
going to hit as, nor with what velocity it is going to do
so. Jack Black is now, in my opinion, a star, and
"School of Rock" is, surprisingly, one of the
funniest and best films of the year. And -- parents
-- don't let the PG-13 rating fool you -- the kids will
love the film, and you won't have second thoughts for
taking them. "School of Rock" rocks.
Accept no substitutes.