The School of Rock: Formulaic, Precious (and Surprisingly Fun)
J. Gordon
11/9/2003 12:26:27 PM

Jack Blackís got things pretty good. He regularly sells out shows with his, er, rock band, Tenacious D. Heís a movie star opposite beauties like Gwyneth Paltrow (even though heís not exactly movie-star handsome himself), and heís the heart of great flicks like High Fidelity. I mean, just try to imagine that movie without Black. Itís still a killer story (kudos to writer Nick Hornby) but Blackís energy played against John Cusakís serial depression was the heart and soul of the film and, most importantly, kept everyone laughing and interested.

And now, as a follow up, thereís The School of Rock. Stripped down, The School of Rock is a highly unlikely, quite predictable PG-rated movie, thatís true. The premise is pushing it: Loser Dewey Finn (Black) is about to get thrown out of his apartment by his substitute-teacher roommate and his bitchy girlfriend. Dewey picks up the phone and, pretending to be his roommate, takes a six-week gig as a sub teacher himself in order to pick up some fast, easy cash. And then surprise, surprise, he bonds with the kids, discovers some talent, and forms a band to compete in the town Battle of the Bands that will put his former band (who kicked him out) to shame. The nerdy kids find their true selves. The bossy kid finds her niche as a band manager. The fat girl just happens to have a set of pipes that can rival Aretha Franklinís. Sure, itís formulaic and precious. But itís still worth seeing and the reason why is (no surprise): Jack Black. We saw it in High Fidelity and Tenacious D, and here he is again doing what he does best: celebrating through parody the goofiest and truest elements of rock and roll.

The fact is, no one, of any age, leaves a School of Rock viewing without a smile. Just expect to have a lot of little kids sitting around youóand stay through the credits for extra laughs.


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