It's been a while since Hollywood's produced a validly funny and entertaining kid's movie that adults will probably enjoy more than the children. School Of Rock is a testament to the power of Rock-n-Roll, and a zany one at that. Set somewhere in suburban New York, the story opens with Dewey Finn (Tenacious D's Jack Black), an unsuccessful rock musician getting kicked out of his own band. To make matters worse his roommate Ned (Mike White: Orange County ), himself a failed former musician, is hounding him for rent money. After being told to get a job or get thrown out, Dewey fraudulently accepts a substitute teacher position at a prestigious prep school.
Here is where things start to get funny. Dewey meets his class containing some notable alumni such as Summer (Miranda Cosgrove), a child who is too assertive for her own good; Zack (Joey Gaydos), the next Steve Vai; the introverted Lawrence (Robert Tsai); Tamika (Maryam Hassan), a girl with some golden pipes; and Billy (Brian Falduto) who is destined to be the next Karl Lagerfeld. Dewey's plan is to transform these studious wee ones into a music group worthy of winning the "Battle of the Bands", and this is where the bulk of the comedy develops. The problem though is not a lack of talent or desire to learn but hard-nosed principal Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack). She, as well as the parents who shell out $15,000 a year in tuition, want the children to learn the three R's, intercultural studies, and to limit their musical instruction to1 hour per week of classical material.
Mullins it turns out is not really the bitch everyone thinks she is, especially after she gets a few drinks in her. (Sounds like someone I know.) Of course Dewey has to take measures to ensure the development of their band remains a secret; he soundproofs the room, hides equipment, and disguises the rock and roll music as homework assignments. The kids and Dewey also come up with some clever ways to get into the competition and escape from Mullins' domain.
You'll have no problem telling where this movie is going or how it will end, but that won't stop you from enjoying it. The movie is very funny, and at times silly.... but never in a so-cute-it'll-make-you- wanna-puke way. There is no serious underlying subtext, but it subtly hinted that parents don't know about some of the things their kids' interests or abilities. School of Rock has a Bad News Bears feel to it, and that's actually good news.
Jack Black's passionate portrayal of the musically consumed Dewey is fantastic. He made you feel in his obsession for rock music, and you believed him when he said that "He served the world by rocking". He not only reminds you of those long haired head-banging garage-band kids in high-school who swore they'd be the next AC/DC, but also of the few who still felt that way when you met them 10 years later at the reunion. Then there are the youngsters who were at the heart of the band, dream, and the movie. My favorite character and probably best young actor was Cosgrove, who was named the band's manager. Also noteworthy was Maryam Hassan, the soft-spoken back-up singer who gave the comedy some pause when she talked about her weight problem. Of course, how can I not mention Joan Cusack, one of my favorite actresses (despite her lisp) who went together rather well with Black.
School of Rock is a great little movie and I recommend that you see it, even if Rock-n-Roll isn't up your alley. Even if you hate kids. Even if you're one of those rockers still waiting to make it big.
Notes: PG-13 rating was unwarranted.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: This School definitely rocks.
School of Czarina
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