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School Of Rock

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: School Of Rock

Starring: Jack Black, Mike White
Director: Richard Linklater
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: October 2003
Genres: COmedy, Music

*Also starring: Sarah Silverman, Joan Cusack, Kevin Alexander Clark, Miranda Cosgrove

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

If you saw "High Fidelity," you may remember Jack Black as John Cusack's music-obsessed buddy. In "Shallow Hal," he was the guy who fell hopelessly in love with Gwyneth Paltrow. Or you might know him as the lead singer for the rock-folk parody group "Tenacious D."

Now Jack Black's center-stage as Dewey Finn, a slovenly, obnoxious bass guitarist. On the same day, he's fired from his own garage-band and evicted by his roommate (Mike White). Desperate and delusional, he scams a job as a substitute teacher at the proper, prestigious Horace Green Elementary School, run by prim Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack). A slacker who's content to doze, he's appalled when his yuppified, over-achieving fifth-grade students cite Christina Aguilera, Liza Minnelli and the musical "Annie" as their musical influences. Discovering that some of the shy, 10 year-old nerds have real musical talent, he decides to create his own pint-sized musical group and enter an upcoming Battle of the Bands. "I serve society by rocking!" the rebellious Dewey says, turning his home-room into "The School of Rock."

After years of creating quirky films for art-house theaters, independent director Richard Linklater ("Waking Life," "Dazed and Confused") and screenwriter Mike White ("The Good Girl") have come up with a hip, really commercial concept. There's satirical humor and there's joyous heart. And by casting moppets with real musical talent, there's a core of authenticity beneath the obvious fantasy. Above all, there's charismatic Jack Black whose Dewey Finn evokes memories of Prof. Harold Hill in "The Music Man." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "School of Rock" is a cool, fun-filled 8 - and recommended for the whole family.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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