School of Rock


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"It's cute."




School of Rock
The Masked Reviewer

This is the latest film of Jack Black, lead singer for the band Tenacious D.  Jack Black is an actor who is, generally, either loved or hated by people.  Some people find his brash, loud, physical style to be evocative John Belushi at his best.  However, others find him to be brash, loud, and physically similar to the Jim Belushi at his worst. 

You should ask yourself, before you see this film, "Do I like Jack Black?"  If you've seen him in other things and you really like him, you're almost certainly going to greatly enjoy School of Rock.  If, on the other hand, you don't think he's good, you're almost certainly going to greatly despise School of Rock

The film features Jack Black and a bunch of well-to-do elementary school kids that form a band together.  Jack Black is the focal point of the film.  He does what he does best (that is, best in those things that he does, not necessarily that he does it better than anyone else): he's brash, loud, and physical.  He sings songs.  He plays goofy.  He plays angry.  He plays big. 

The Masked Reviewer will reveal at this point that the Masked Reviewer is one of the few people who doesn't have a strong feeling about Jack Black one way or another.  In general, he's funny and certainly peppy.  He has had funny moments in films, such as High Fidelity (2000) and Saving Silverman (2001).  His greatest work has been in the band Tenacious D, which is always enjoyable.  On the other hand, Jack Black was in Shallow Hal (2001) which was, in the Masked Reviewer's opinion, rather exceptionally unexceptional.  He also appeared (albeit briefly) in Kevin Costner's Waterworld (1995), which has to be held against him.  He could've changed his name, after all.

Jack Black often plays the same kind of character.  In School of Rock, he plays the same role again and he does it very well.  The movie is a a showcase for Jack Black, and he runs with it.  He's comfortable in the part, and he seems to have a lot of fun which is contagious (like herpes, though more fun to have (and less fun to get)). 

Joan Cusack plays the school's uptight principal and she contributes the only non-Jack-Black laughs in the film.  She gives a wonderful performance, and even though her screen time is limited, true Joan Cusack fans won't want to miss her in this.  In fact, if you hate Jack Black and love Joan Cusack, you'll want to see School of Rock because your love will overcome your hate.

Comedienne Sarah Silverman plays a minor supporting role as an evil bitch.  Sadly, she doesn't have any jokes, but she is funny.  Really funny.  Just not in this.

Also starring in the movie are a bunch of kids.  The kids appear to be real honest-to-goodness musicians and singers, and while the quality of their musicianship isn't likely to have you running to buy the soundtrack so you can learn the bitchin' solos, the music in the movie is fine.  This is the first film for most of the kids, and they're all adequate.  Fortunately, it's not so much a "kids' movie"; the kids aren't really the focus of the film and they don't try to make the kids too cute.

This isn't a film for kids.  That's not to say that it's dirty or filled with violence or sex (sadly).  A kid could certainly watch the film, but it's made for an adult audience.  It's a cute movie.

Everyone has seen this kind of movie before.  It's sort of a musical Bad News Bears.  Fish-out-of-water guy helps a group of kids learn a life lesson.  There aren't a lot of terribly memorable scenes.  But, even so, if you roll with it, it's perfectly fine, cute entertainment.  No deep plot.  No distracting love stories.  It's not meaningful, but it is cute.  Has the Masked Reviewer mentioned it's cute?  If the Masked Reviewer had to give a two word review, it'd be "it's cute." 

The only memorable feature of the film is the unusual depiction of one kid who is clearly gay (by way of stereotype).  This kid that wants to be the hair stylist for the band and he loves Liza Minelli.  The Masked Reviewer doesn't remember any other depiction of a 10-year-old homosexual before.  Odd. 


Expectation from the Title: After the Three Little Pedantic Pigs lost the Straw Campus and the Stick Campus to the blowing winds of the Big Bad Wolf, it was time to carve a new Center for Porcine Learning from the very earth itself.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Everyone was just so cute in this film.

The Pros: Jack Black lovers will revel in the Jack-Blackiness.

The Cons: Jack Black haters will not enjoy the Jack-Blackluster performance.


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