The School of Rock

"Weak"

The School of Rock Review


A collaboration between indie auteur director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused) and taboo-pushing screenwriter Mike White (The Good Girl) shouldn't feel so mainstream. But that's exactly how The School of Rock plays. Content with the art house cred and critical praise they've each acquired, Linklater and White hitch their wagons to leading man Jack Black in a bid for wider acceptance, though their blasé overture receives a passing grade when it had the potential to move to the head of the class.

One look at Dewey (Black) and you can figure out the problems plaguing this bloated burnout. He's broke and jobless. His heavy metal bandmates kick him out after a botched gig. And his roommate and long-time friend Ned (White, pulling double duty) threatens him with eviction unless he can provide some rent money. When a snooty prep school calls Ned with a substitute teaching position, Dewey assumes his roommate's identity and takes over a classroom of eager young minds.

Surprisingly, Rock just doesn't rock the way you think it should. White writes a framework that relies too heavily on the "misfit makes good" formula, leaving Black plenty of room to riff his way through unoriginal scenarios. Energetic and overly-amplified, Black is the human equivalent of the "Sobig" computer virus, corrupting the hard drive of the education system. He might be improvising three-quarters of the time, but he's good at off-the-cuff sarcasm and keeps the conventional scenes moving without making them entirely humorous.

The film simply suffers from several flat notes, er, jokes. Black's interactions with his class are airtight. The clever kids manage to be earnest, extremely talented, and eager to please. Enroll them in charm school and this class would be full of valedictorians. But Dewey's attempts to encourage these enthusiastic scholars rather than exploit them (which is what we assume he'd do) leans School closer to Mr. Holland's Opus than the wickedly punk Rock and Roll High School.

Things don't improve outside the classroom, where scenes tend to drag on incessantly. Black's repetitive battles with Ned's girlfriend (Sarah Silverman, wasted in a shrill role) and attempts to connive the school's frigid headmaster (Joan Cusack, also misused) are about as entertaining as a 14-minute flute solo at a Jethro Tull concert.

A tight, poppy Beatles-esque toe-tapper exists somewhere underneath the fluff of Rock. But Linklater cuts his scenes together with a bulls-eye on the funny bone of the general public. It's not his forte. By softening the blows, he creates a sweet and completely inoffensive crowd-pleaser that's overly saccharine and should dull the taste buds of his target audience. Given the level of comedic talent he's attracted, though, School becomes the cinematic equivalent of recruiting the members of Led Zep, the Sex Pistols, and the Stones, and forcing them to cover motivational elevator Muzak from Air Supply originals.

Black and Linklater offer an interesting commentary (how could they not?), which addresses in part the question of whether this film is really called School of Rock or The School of Rock. There's also a "Kid's Kommentary" track and a smattering of behind the scenes stuff, including a video clip of Jack Black begging Led Zeppelin for permission to use one of their songs in the film.

Return to the back of the class!



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $131.3M

Budget: $35M

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.