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The School of Rock

The School of Rock

You wouldn't think the triumvirate of Jack Black, Mike White, and independent-oriented director Richard Linklater would be up to making a commercial picture with a bunch of ten-year-olds.  But, The School of Rock has the rhythm of a likeable comedy with genial musical prodigies around Black who is back in his musical element of the sleeper hit High Fidelity.

His Dewey Finn is a slacking wannabe rock str who zestfully gets to act like Whoopi Golberg in Sister Act.  The results may not yield the same success given the kiddie element which makes the marketing a bit tricky, as Linklater eschews the kind of sentimental comparable to Kindergarten Cop.

The hapless Dewey takes advantage after a neat opening credit sequence by Linklater to advocate his "classic-rock" mentality for the fifth grade at a rigid posh private school.  The premise is slight, to say the least, yet Black milks it dry, and makes the script from White seen awfully delicious.

Dewey is jettisoned from his unsuccessful band and the desperate, hung-over chump chooses to become a substitute teacher when he answers the phone for roommate New Schneebly (White).  White is suitably nerdy and has a controlling girlfriend (Sarah Silverman) with a deep disdain for the free-loading dirt-bag Dewey.

The tried and true formula has the slovenly guy getting by the snooty private school staff, especially the geeky Principal Mullins, acted with a streak of tyrannical wryness by Joan Cusack, also in High Fidelity.  The interaction between eccentric teacher with his rock flowcharts and charming pupils leads to a harnessing of inner classical rock music via the clandestine project know as the Battle of the Bands.

As a mainstream rock n' roll flick, The School of Rock knows what it takes from being too soft as manifested by a story that its cast embraces with a "hardcore" feeling.  Black's performance may be overly manic for some as his mannerisms sometimes recall the ways of John Belushi.  Yet, he feels very settled in a peculiar setting where he forms a ragtag group that, even within all the sterotypes, finally makes being in school kind of cool, rather than dazed and confused.

The School of Rock

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