Published Jan 01, 2006The School of Rock uses Hollywood’s tried and true formula of the loveable but down-and-out adult redeemed by his involvement with a rag-tag bunch of precocious children, who teach each other the meaning of teamwork and togetherness. We’ve seen it with hockey teams, baseball teams and many other things. Here, it’s given a rock and roll makeover and the result is fluffy, fun and totally predictable.
Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, a clueless guy that just wants to rock out but is kicked out his preening rock band and is on the verge of being evicted. In order to make some quick cash, he fakes his way into a job as a substitute teacher at an elite private school. Once he discovers that his pupils have some musical talent, he begins moulding them into the ultimate rock and roll band so they can compete in a local battle of the bands, win some money and gain him back the artistic respect he feel he deserves. Wacky hi-jinks and warm fuzzies ensue in equal measure.
The film has a solid team behind it, with slack master Richard Linklater in the director’s chair and Chuck and Buck screenwriter Mike White penning the script, but it is first and foremost a Jack Black vehicle. Thankfully, it is far more successful than the last few Jack Black vehicles (Shallow Hal, anyone?), with the winning combination of comedy and rock music that put Black in the spotlight with his much lauded role in High Fidelity.
The supporting cast is great too, with writer White as Dewey’s spineless roommate, whose substitute teaching identity Dewey steals, the amazing Joan Cusack as the school principal, who is wound so tight she’s practically vibrating in every scene, and, of course, a bunch of kids that are universally cute and smart and talented, and boy can they ever rock. (Paramount)