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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 34.76%
Just Average: 10.16%
Pretty Crappy: 1.07%
Sucks: 2.14%

10 reviews, 127 user ratings

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School of Rock
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by EricDSnider

"Head of the thrash."
4 stars

We now add Jack Black to the list of actors who appear in films whose comedy relies primarily on whether you happen to think that actor is funny.

"School of Rock" also has the wonderful Joan Cusack, a likable crew of youngsters, and a fair helping of dialogue and situations that are funny regardless of the casting. But most of the laughs still come from Black's delivery, that spastic juvenility, that post-ironic sloppy-silliness. He's like a grown-up little kid, almost the way Chris Farley was, but more self-aware.

He performs with actual kids in "School of Rock," playing an unemployed rock musician named Dewey who takes his roommate's long-term substitute teaching gig to earn money. Having been kicked out of his own band (a pure '80s-style long-haired heavy metal crew), Dewey now wants to assemble another group and win big cash in the upcoming battle of the bands. But you gotta pay the rent, bro, so he steals that teaching job.

It's for a fifth-grade class at a snooty private academy, a real nerd factory, where as luck would have it the repressed kids are already accomplished musicians, though they are more familiar with Bach than with Bachman Turner Overdrive, better with Mozart than with Motown, more skilled with Beethoven than with the Beatles. (I could do this all day, folks.) Overhearing them one day, Dewey gets the idea that you have already foreseen: Turn the kids into a rock band, give everyone something to do (you need roadies and technicians, too, of course), and tell them it's all for a special class project. The only trick will be to hide their daily rehearsals from the tamped-down, insecure principal (Cusack), and from the kids' parents, who surely aren't spending $18,000 a year for their children to learn power chords.

It is only slightly different from, say, "Mr. Holland's Opus" in its basic structure. Dewey improves the kids' morale, learns some valuable lessons himself, and all naysayers are converted during the concert that concludes the film. Indie director Richard Linklater ("Slacker," "Dazed and Confused") may lose some street cred with this rather genre-specific picture, but he will win points with the masses (something he has not accomplished before, at least not in terms of box office grosses).

And there is definitely still an alternative vibe to the film, a stick-it-to-The-Man attitude that Black exemplifies. His tour de force is a single-take scene in which he sings for the class a song he wrote and wants them to learn. It's a pretentious progressive-rock anthem, something Rush would have written 25 years ago (or maybe would still write today; I haven't really kept up with Rush), and as he sings it, he also gives instructions on how the lighting and fog effects would be used, where the drums kick in, and so on. He doesn't just write a song, he writes a whole rock show. Is Black mocking this self-important, out-dated style of rock 'n' roll, or is he endorsing it? Taken either way, it is both hilarious and energizing.

I'm impressed with the lack of cynicism at play here. Dewey wants to teach the kids to be rock stars, but only in the pure way that Dewey imagines is the heart of rock 'n' roll, without the drugs and money and associated ill effects. When one of the kids gets too caught up in it all and hangs out with a grown-up band that sits in a van and drinks beer, Dewey whisks him out of there like an angry father. He talks elsewhere about how being a rock god will get you "the ladies," but it hardly seems like he's taking about sex. For Dewey, it's all about the music. Getting "the ladies" would just mean having more adoring fans to watch you play.

And so even though he's using the kids to win a band competition, and even though it is mildly disquieting in this day and age to hear a teacher tell his students to keep something a secret from their parents, there is still an overriding sense of innocence about it all. Dewey's using the kids, but he LIKES them, too. They're nice kids, with personalities and flaws and character.

Dewey's devotion to rockin', and to the youth-culture tenets of playin' it loud and rockin' all night, is ceaselessly entertaining. Whether you take it as an homage or a parody -- that is, whether you take rock 'n' roll seriously or not -- it's either way a truly joyful, funny movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8224&reviewer=247
originally posted: 10/08/03 02:02:06
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User Comments

8/09/18 Suzanne really talented kids 4 stars
11/19/14 Charles Tatum Lots of laugh, likable kids 4 stars
7/08/13 Monday Morning One of Jack's best - lots of fun. Just sit back and enjoy 4 stars
11/14/08 Annie G Fabulous acting from a group of young musicians. Just an overall good time! 4 stars
9/30/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Movie! 5 stars
9/21/08 Samantha Pruitt awesome family film, with really great music! 5 stars
9/07/08 Claire Sun Excellent movie, great for the whole family. 5 stars
7/17/07 Andrea D Freddy (kevin clark) is soooooo hot!! ( it is 5 stars because of him) 5 stars
6/26/07 Pokejedservo A genuinely appealing film, not a classic but its fairly close. 4 stars
6/05/07 ashley was frankie that fat kid? 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega This school rules!!!! Fun-lovin' movie. 4 stars
12/24/06 11pop lame and predictable 1 stars
12/02/06 R.W.Welch Appeals mostly to Rock fans, but gonzo perf by J.B. C+ 3 stars
11/04/06 Samantha OMG I went to Montosery Preschool with Angelo Massagli! He promised to marry me! 5 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini very funny 5 stars
10/16/06 AJ Muller God of Rock, thank you for Jack Black, who has melted our faces with his high voltage rock 5 stars
10/04/06 Stanley Thai One of the best film's...and it stars Jack Black! 4 stars
6/26/06 ClaranceTheCobra See this Movie 5 stars
5/26/06 Ace ROCK ON JACK BLACK! WOO! WOO! OH yeah! 5 stars
3/15/06 Gribley HEHE - I know all the words! TEEHEE!! :D 5 stars
1/08/06 Quigley one of comedy's finest hours. Black steals the show. I was laughing every minute, no joke! 5 stars
12/28/05 Steve Newman Excellent excellent excellent (dec 05) 5 stars
8/17/05 John Aster Habig incredible gifted kids, a hilarious script and Black's comic genius=sweet 5 stars
7/23/05 Lisa Sammi A very inspirational movie-I wet my pants laughing! 5 stars
7/22/05 Dan !!! :D !!! 5 stars
3/16/05 Mask critic its ok but Jack Black is fucken insane 3 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Very entertaining, feel good movie! 4 stars
12/11/04 Kristina Williams hilarious and the kids were awesome 5 stars
11/14/04 random* warning: may cause uncontrollable grinning 5 stars
11/13/04 willie vergara excellent and entertaining 5 stars
11/11/04 Andrea I actually surprised myself by truely enjoying this one. Jack Black is a delight! 4 stars
11/10/04 Misti Jack Black is brillant. The music in this movie is pretty good. 4 stars
11/08/04 kpxpaintballer it rocked the guitar and drum solos and all 5 stars
10/25/04 DM Very funny and surprisingly sweet 5 stars
10/19/04 ralph by far best comedy of 2003.arguebly best of movie of the year 5 stars
9/16/04 joyce its really a graet movie... 5 stars
9/14/04 Marionne Rivero Kevin Clark is soooooo cute!!!! 5 stars
8/25/04 jmsynth Better then most "family" films, but overated and rarely funny 3 stars
8/21/04 ME Kevin Clark is F2F, he is sOoOoOoOoO LUSH, seen film 341 times in counting, it's gr8!!!!!! 5 stars
8/13/04 *Riaan* Kevin Clark is so cute and the movie was great!!! 5 stars
8/07/04 maryann paul dsouza awesome 5 stars
8/01/04 ian it was the best movie I SAW ALL YEAR 5 stars
7/24/04 Katie This i smy favorite movie! Kevin Clark is SO HOT!!!!!!!! : ) 5 stars
7/24/04 heather kevin clark is so hott 5 stars
7/16/04 monica hedway it's a brill film and ive seen it 24 times 5 stars
7/13/04 Mia I THINK IT ROCKED TOTALLY!!!! 5 stars
7/11/04 Monster W. Kung Hardly a masterpiece, but still a funny and entertaining light-hearted flick. 4 stars
7/10/04 rachel kevin clark is lush hes my husband (i wish) the film was brilliant 5 stars
7/08/04 christina vitello It was awsome move, 5 stars
7/07/04 Chelsey This is my favorite movie 5 stars
7/07/04 Summer the movie was rocken + Kevin Clark was hoooott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/30/04 Lisa johnson i think it was and AWSOME move 5 stars
6/29/04 Jim Wasn't bad, but didn't hold my interest. He woulda been busted the first day. 3 stars
6/28/04 Amy i loved the movie it was the best Kevin Clark is hott 5 stars
6/27/04 Marissa Wolff Cool movie 5 stars
6/25/04 Paige This movie was a riot! It was so hardcore and awesome. Plus, Kevin Clark was in it so how c 5 stars
6/25/04 Kelsey this movie is awsome! kecin is so hot! 5 stars
6/24/04 Renee The movie rocked out loud! plus Kevin Clark is ab hottie. Luv u kevin! 5 stars
6/18/04 Denise Duspiva very funny 5 stars
6/14/04 Shelby I loved the movie! what made it better was Kevin hes so HOTT!! 5 stars
6/10/04 Alexia I love Kevin annd the Movie! HE is HOT!!!!! 5 stars
6/07/04 Ron Miller Not for the older crowd, I'd have to agree, Black is a future huge star and will regretthis 3 stars
6/07/04 James Kustes Richard Linklater, Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, and Mike White. How could it not be good? 5 stars
6/06/04 Amanda This is the best movie ever and i know angelo massagli (frankie) hes soo cool 5 stars
6/05/04 Tessa I think it's a kick butt movie!!!! 5 stars
5/26/04 Courtney I love Kevin Clark he is so HOT!!! 5 stars
5/21/04 matt Kevin Alexander is sooooooooooo hot 5 stars
5/18/04 Diane Kevin Clark is hot! And the movie rocks! and he's mine! 5 stars
5/15/04 Katie This is the best movie ever! I LOVE KEVIN CLARK! 5 stars
4/28/04 jessica kevin clark you are so HOT 5 stars
4/16/04 John I love this movie the best move I've seen all year 5 stars
4/15/04 Soulis Sorry Jack, I admire your abilities but this movie is for grade school kids 2 stars
4/14/04 sera .c Kevin Clark is soooooo H.O.T. 5 stars
4/07/04 April Marie One of the most fun movies in a long time. Jack Black is the cat's pajamas for sure. 5 stars
3/30/04 Jess I wanna bone Jack Black, he's so fine! 5 stars
3/28/04 Amelia awesome!! i loved it Kevin Clark is so hott!!!! 5 stars
3/25/04 Kevin Radchenko This movie rocks! I love to watch this movie. 5 stars
3/18/04 Toothdoc Awesome movie...my kids air-guitared for the whole movie 5 stars
3/16/04 The Dude Jack Black is a fucking funny bastard. 5 stars
3/14/04 elaina hennig loved it great movie! 5 stars
3/07/04 Lindsay Kevin lives near me and I saw him at the mall! 5 stars
3/04/04 Ingo Nice and dull. 3 stars
2/17/04 The Big See Forced to watch this on a flight -- laughed my ass off! Great stuff. 5 stars
2/17/04 alisha jenkins it's mence 5 stars
2/16/04 Thomas Woolsgrove All the rock you know and some you don't, couppled with a classic Hollywood teatchers plot 4 stars
2/12/04 Littlepurch Blimey it went on FOREVER!!! Fantastic music and some funny moments but not great. 3 stars
2/10/04 garyrjb great film entertainment didnt need sfx or huge budget. just great fun 4 stars
2/05/04 Wendy Carpenter Almost as fun as it is preposterous. 4 stars
12/29/03 amanda it is the best movie ever 5 stars
12/27/03 Alien assasin Offers plenty of laughs. 4 stars
12/12/03 freddy lover HE WAS SO HOT IN THE MOVIE (we mean the drum player,freddy) 5 stars
12/02/03 Agent Sands Great soundtrack, Black's the new Carrey, & the script is AWESOME. 5 stars
11/22/03 lucille roberts Terrific, entertaining and funny! Loved it!! 5 stars
11/15/03 School of Rock Fan One of my all time favorites 5 stars
11/11/03 Mike i tire of jack black 1 stars
11/06/03 Cameron Slick Like Dead Poets Society, except good. 4 stars
11/05/03 Dombomb27 It was a movie aimed at teenagers 5 stars
10/24/03 Mike H Great 5 stars
10/20/03 Stephanie Hardest I've laughed in a long time!! 5 stars
10/19/03 Elizaveta super cute - jack black acts with 200% energy! 4 stars
10/18/03 yahoo reel fun 4 stars
10/14/03 Meegz I think I laughed twice.. 2 stars
10/13/03 charmaine: it was awsome i am speechless! 5 stars
10/13/03 Colleen I saw it twice..first with a friend, then with my family! Everyone loved it! 5 stars
10/12/03 Bailey wicked awesome, as Jack Black always is and uh...Jack Black rocks my world. 5 stars
10/12/03 Justin Weiler Worst movie EVER... The hype is a complete mystery 1 stars
10/11/03 Mezz The kids are fuckin' geniuses, little bastards, and that Jack Black, fuckin' crack-up! 5 stars
10/10/03 Valerie I Love this movie!!! 5 stars
10/09/03 Michael OConor The first laugh-out-loud comedy in a long time that doesn't bombard you with grossout humor 5 stars
10/09/03 Lewis A highly enjoyable, fun movie!!!! 5 stars
10/08/03 srburns Suprisingly funny 4 stars
10/08/03 Josh Groth Jack Black is hilarious!! The music is incredible, and it is all put together very well. 5 stars
10/08/03 nick2k there was some cheese-factor....but it all came together in the end...even without katie. 4 stars
10/07/03 Greyjack If you liked JackBlack in "High Fidelity", you'll like this. If you didn't, you won't. 4 stars
10/06/03 Erik Van Sant A comedy that consistently reminds you of why Jack Black is a God. This movie is awesome. 5 stars
10/06/03 your worst goddamn nightmare this was such a funny flick... Tenacious D kicks soooo much ass!! 5 stars
10/05/03 alexandra this movie was the bees knees! hmmm...i wonder how old that one kid was, he was hot!. 5 stars
10/05/03 J.P. Acco I loved this movie, But no solo for Katie made me sad 5 stars
10/04/03 Kaitlin This movie rocks and kicks ass at the same time 5 stars
10/04/03 Elizaveta simply great fun 4 stars
10/04/03 TheRealNapster This movie was awesome! I laughed for the beginning till after the credits were over! 5 stars
10/03/03 Kitty B. luv jack black 5 stars
10/03/03 Superdave very funny and entertaining 4 stars
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  03-Oct-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Mar-2004



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