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

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

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.