Movie Review: School of Rock

USA, Richard Linklater (2003)

School of Rock, well yeah, it rocks! The most fun I’ve had at the movies in quite a while. It’s all too rare to see a theatrical release for “the family” that’s as much fun for adults as it is for the kids, but this has got the comedy goin’ on for everyone.

Jack Black was born to play the role of a down-and-out rocker who’s booted from his band and impersonates a substitute teacher to earn the rent. His on-screen rapport with the kids is great–he never condescends to them or goes so Jack Black crazy as to overshadow them or the story. Rather than the typical class of Hollywood-type smart-ass kids, the kids in School of Rock are completely genuine and never annoying, except for one student, who’s supposed to be. Joan Cusak, as usual, takes a memorable secondary role, as her now legendary facial contortions get a workout. She’s great as the repressed principle who worries that she’s become a prep-school bitch.

Jack Black steals the show, as you know he would, but not so completely that you forget he’s playing a character, in a story that has merit. Near the end of the movie, when the jig is up and Black is revealed to be an imposter, it’s great that the kids don’t come to his rescue by standing up before the entire school, proclaiming one-by-one the life-changing lessons they’ve learned from their teacher. Instead, they head to a battle of the bands, and prove what they learned on stage, rockin’ their little hearts out.

Here’s the Gist: If you don’t have a good time jammin’ with Jack and company, you must be “the Man,” and you wouldn’t like it any way.[**** out of 5]

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