Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

School of Rock


This film is so high-energy, so endearing, that even Mom liked it, and she says she doesn’t really care for Jack Black.

(New Review) Jack Black’s talents call for a particular sort of movie, at least back when this one was made. Need manic energy? Jack’s your man. But in parts where a wee bit more subtlety might have helped, he has been way too much in half a dozen movies I didn’t like. (Lately he’s been tempering his performances, as in the excellent The Big Year. Also in a more recent film, Bernie, directed by the same man who did this one, Richard Linklater.) But this one was absolutely perfect for him. He plays it all about nine miles over the top, and it’s just right, because that’s what the character is. Dewey Finn lives Rock in his very soul. Music is everything to him. But to make ends meet he ends up subbing in a very exclusive elementary school. All the kids in his class are dreary overachievers. But he learns that some of them are actually quite good at musical instruments, though not a one of them has ever heard of rock ‘n’ roll. So he sets out to form them into a band. It’s all utterly outrageous and fun and funny and even heartwarming at times. Now, there’s no way in the world I believe that the uptight parents of these kids would suddenly be won over just because their kids were popular at a rock concert, but you accept that in a film like this.

There were a lot of extras on the DVD. The one we watched followed the casting and rehearsals with the children, and it was a lot of fun all by itself. Jack was very good with these kids, never talked down, being much more like a kid himself. They all were working very hard—and playing their own instruments!—but having the time of their lives. One of them, Miranda Cosgrove, the snotty Little Miss Organizer known as Summer, has gone on to a modest career in movies and voice characterizations in things like Despicable Me. It was fun to watch her, age 10, talking knowledgeably with Jack about the heartbreak of casting.