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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 Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 terrific.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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