Jack Black is the man in SCHOOL OF ROCK, an exhilarating and good-spirited
comedy, directed by WAKING LIFE's Richard Linklater and written by THE GOOD
GIRL's Mike White. As energetic as a one-man band, Black, as would-be big
rocker Dewey Finn, not only headlines the movie, he is the movie. But the kids
he teaches complement him nicely like a great group of backup singers. A movie
that has as much appeal for the grade school set as the Woodstock generation,
it has exuberant music that is a real blast.
When even his own band votes him off of their music island, Dewey doesn't give
up. With the money he plans on getting from impersonating his roommate Ned
Schneebly (Mike White) as a substitute teacher for a bunch of 10-year-olds,
Dewey plans on funding a new band. Once at the prep school, headed by an
uptight Principal Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), Dewey -- calling himself Ned
-- gives his class non-stop recess since he doesn't think he has anything to
teach them. In a rich school stuffed with overachievers, his approach causes
the class significant consternation. "My parents don't spend fifteen thousand
dollars a year for recess!" Summer Hathaway (Miranda Cosgrove) admonishes him.
When Dewey accidentally discovers his class's musical talents, he realizes that
his dream of competing in the big "Battle of the Bands" at a local club could
be within his grasp. In no time, he converts his class from all-day recess to
non-stop band practice, which he later augments with long lectures on the
history of rock and on rock appreciation.
With wonderfully exaggerated gestures, Black chews up the scenery with great
glee. Dewey is a bundle of infinite energy as he shows his pupils how to rock
with style and gusto. His big mop of hair swings wildly as he jumps around the
classroom demonstrating the fine points of rock 'n roll. His rapport and
chemistry with students is palpable, and he becomes a synthesis of every
inspired teacher you've ever known
This mixture of HIGH FIDELITY with CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and every kids' sports
movie comes to a satisfying and completely predicable conclusion. Dewey
honestly believes with a passion that "one great rock show can change the
world." There are worse things to believe in. You can believe in this: SCHOOL
OF ROCK rocks!
SCHOOL OF ROCK runs 1:50. The film is rated PG-13 for "some rude humor and
drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 14, loved the picture, giving it *** 1/2. He thought it
was funny and filled with memorable tunes. Most of all, he thought Black was
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes