School Of Rock

"Weak"

School Of Rock Review


Jack Black isn't an actor, he's a clown -- and a one-schitck clown at that.

Compare any two-minute clip of his new comedy "School of Rock" to any of his scenes from "Orange County," "Shallow Hal" or "Saving Silverman," and you'll see the exact same tongue-wagging and eye-bugging mugging, the exact same frenzied, finger-knotting gestures and roly-poly, off-balance dancing, the exact same eyebrow-stitching failed attempts at momentary sincerity, and the exact same set-devouring dialogue delivery.

"Read between the lines, baby! Read between the lines!" he whispers then screams, whispers then screams while giving a three-fingered flip-off to the musicians who have just kicked the embarrassing stage-hog out of their band in this movie's establishing scene.

On the verge of also being booted from the bedsheet-draped corner of his best friend's apartment where he's been crashing for ages, Black's freeloading oaf is desperate for cash. So when a snooty prep school calls looking for his buddy (Mike White, the movie's screenwriter), a highly favored substitute teacher, Black usurps his identity and begins teaching a dutiful 5th-grade class of Central Casting archetypes to loosen up and rock out.

The story is stale formula, right down to the battle-of-the-bands finale -- established as the be-all, end-all of Black's existence in clumsy first-act expository dialogue. After a few days of sleeping through the school day, much to the chagrin of his restless A-students, he discovers the kids all play instruments or sing (or at least have the gift for the fine art of being a roadie), and he begins molding them into the guitar-grinding, drum-soloing band that could make his moment-in-the-spotlight fantasies come true.

Despite such methodical scripting and a litany of common-sense story chasms -- the tightly-wound, gray-tweedy principal (an underutilized Joan Cusack) finds Black very fishy yet never checks up on his class -- "School of Rock" almost gets by on the light-hearted enthusiasm of director Richard Linklater (usually more experimental with films like "Waking Life") that shines through from behind the camera. The movie has a contagious, forgiving cheer-along spirit that will likely sustain those less averse to Jack Black's repetitive antics than I am. (In the interest of fairness, I'll tell you that this week's San Francisco preview audience and most other critics I've talked to enjoyed this movie.)

But even if the picture weren't so trite and even if the dubious moral of the story didn't seem to be "never grow up and never take responsibility for your actions," Jack Black still strikes me as a stubby, baby-gruff, blue-light-special Jim Carrey without the capacity for genuine humanity. While he may have a talent for enjoyable scene-stealing in supporting performances (see "High Fidelity"), that doesn't make him a movie star or give him the chops to carry a feature film -- no matter how much he might make some people laugh.



School Of Rock

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedies

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd October 2003

Box Office USA: $81.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $131.3M

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 176 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Dewey Finn, as Rosalie Mullins, as Ned Schneebly, as Patty Di Marco, as Theo, Lucas Papaelias as Neil, as Doug, Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zack Mooneyham, as Spider, Jordan-Claire Green as Michelle, Veronica Afflerbach as Eleni, as Summer Hathaway, as Freddy Jones, Robert Tsai as Lawrence, Maryam Hassan as Tomika, Angelo Massagli as Frankie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.