Written by Mike White
Running Time: 1:49
as Dewey Finn
Kevin Alexander Clark
It's been a long time since I saw a movie as fun as School of Rock. Yes, sometimes there was too much Jack Black, but the story combined with the talented kids made for a rocking good time. And I'm very sorry I just said that.
Dewey Finn only wants to be a rock star. But when his band kicks him out, and his roommate (and roommate's girlfriend) want to boot him out of the apartment, Dewey has to find some money in a hurry. He takes a call meant for his roommate, and ends up becoming a teacher in a private school. Dewey of course knows nothing about being a teacher and has the kids have recess all day long. But when he finds out they're all talented musicians, he decides to use them to put together a new band, and win the battle of the bands competition. Along the way he manages to get the children to break out of their shells and learns a few lessons of his own.
There is no question this is a Jack Black film all the way. He's in just about every scene and his trademark crazy antics are in full bloom the entire time. But the reason this movie was so fun had a lot to do with his interaction with the kids. From what I remember reading, most of the kids are actual musicians from New York City, which made their performances feel real (because they were real). And with Black being a talented (opinions may vary) musician in his own right, you got the feeling that everyone involved was just having a good time. And when the actors look like they're having fun, the audience picks up on that and has fun themselves.
Black was his manic self throughout the film, and your opinion of him will have a direct impact on whether or not you can sit through the entire movie. At times his personality can be annoying, and early on in the film I wondered if I was going to enjoy it. Once the kids show up however, everything changes. Each of the kids has a typical personality trait. There's the one who only cares about her grades, the one whose father gets down on him, the one who isn't cool, the one who is a troublemaker (and for the first time I can remember, one who is gay). This kind of movie could have been directed straight into the ground with the usual sob stories and life lessons learned and then gone for a tear-jerker ending, but instead the director decided to go with something different. There was no 'bad guy' in the movie (save for the girlfriend who was extremely irritating and underused the comedic talents of Sarah Silverman), so there was no good vs. evil storyline. It was all good.
Obviously one of the main components of School of Rock is the music. There was a lot of old school classics used, and a couple of new songs created for the film. The song that they use in the finale wasn't a great song, but it was a fun, uptempo song that had everyone in the theater tapping their toes along with the beat. And the closing credit sequence is definitely one to stay around for, as you get to see and hear these very talented kids do little solos. With Black's background in music, I don't think there is another actor who could have pulled off this role and made it as entertaining. And the idea of using real child musicians instead of having child actors fake their way through the music scenes gave the movie authenticity which was very evident all the way through.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed School of Rock. The story was straightforward, but the energy brought by Black and the kids really made it a lot of fun.
Dazed and Confused
© 2003 Wolfpack Productions