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Bams' review of
School Of Rock


School Of Rock (2003)
Rated PG-13; running time 110 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Comedy
Seen at: Eastwood Neighborhood Cinema Group (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Mike White
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Cast: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, Joey Gaydos, Kevin Alexander Clark, Maryam Hassan, Rebecca Brown, Robert Tsai, Caitlin Hale, Aleisha Allen, Miranda Cosgrove, Brian Falduto, Zachary Infante, James Hosey, Angelo Massagli, Cole Hawkins, Veronica Afflerbach, Jordan-Claire Green

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

Clowns are an acquired taste. Some - especially buffoonish clowns - I just can't hack. This is why I generally can't stand Martin Lawrence, Cuba Gooding, Jim Carrey (in comedy mode), or most of the Saturday Night Live alums. Other clowns, though, have an infectious quality about them; they have a talent beyond the clowning that serves to negate their tendency to irritate me. These types of clowns, I can take - in measured doses.

Jack Black, for example.

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Dewey Finn, whose enthusiasm about playing and singing in a rock band outweighs his talent for the same, can't seem to get a break. First, he's kicked out of the band he started; then, Patty (Sarah Silverman), the nagging harridan live-in girlfriend of his best friend (and former rocker himself), Ned Schneebly (Mike White) nags Dewey to pay his share of the rent.

The opportunity to do just that comes when Dewey intercepts a phone call to substitute teacher Ned from Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), Principal of Horace Green Prep School. Principal Mullins asks Dewey (as Ned) to sub teach the private school's 5th grade class. Wanting initially only to get paid to do as little as possible, Dewey's head is turned when he finds out that the kids - including guitarist Zack (Joey Gaydos), drummer Freddy (Kevin Alexander Clark), singer Tomika (Maryam Hassan), bassist Katie (Rebecca Brown), and keyboardist Lawrence (Robert Tsai) - are musically gifted...and might be able to help him win the upcoming Battle Of The Bands.

As a singer, I think Jack Black makes a fine comic. And as a comic, he's got a nice singing voice. This is not to say that I don't like Jack Black. Just the opposite; he's been the best part of many a weak movie, so much so that I'll go see a movie I'm not otherwise very interested in, just because he's in it. School Of Rock, for example.

I didn't have high hopes for this Let's Put On A Show! show; the trailers left me underwhelmed, and I'm not much of a fan of Precocious Kids, nor for that matter, of straight-up rock. But I do like Black, and co-star Joan Cusack. Speaking of zany as Black was, I felt Cusack was tempered way too much. She did have one great scene late in the movie where you could see just she's capable of doing; but for most of the rest of the movie, Cusack was kept too tightly under wraps. In a sense, she is the female version of Jack Black; nowhere near was radically off-beat as he is, but every bit as funny and underestimated a talent. I fear that the older she gets, the less likely it is that there will be a writer or director that will bring out the very best in this funny lady.

The deal-breaker that kept me from giving this movie an A, though, was its incredulousness. Far too many eye-rolling, "yeah, right" moments in Rock, lessened the experience for me. Sorry, but the entire premise of an uncertified "teacher" being allowed to sub, for weeks on end, without any real intervention from authorities, or much more than a "hmmm" from the types of parents that put their kids in an Uptight Private School, just makes my Belief get a headache from the attempts to Suspend it so high. Especially in this crazy Zero Tolerance age we're living in. No way in hell could most of what happened in this movie's school, happen. No. Way. In. Hell.

In spite of all my misgivings, though I wasn't completely rocked outta my socks, I enjoyed the movie for what it was worth. No, it wasn't Shakespeare, but I bet old Will would get a kick out of Jack. I also liked the fact that for the most part, these were not Superstar kids; they are talented musicians, yes, but not abnormally so. This is as it should be; these kids have a lot of living yet to do. A room full of Precious Prodigies would've missed the point that Dewey was trying to Teach about how Rock (really, any music that you have to really Feel to play) can change your life forever.

The kids' hearts were in the right place, and Jack Black gave it his crazy all. As long as you don't mind retreads, Rock makes a good enough light-hearted movie. But when it's all said and done, the story at the base of School Of Rock was already old back when Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland wanted to Put On A Show.

SCHOOL OF ROCK:   fyellow

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 10/3/03):

Bams' reviews:
Out Of Time | School Of Rock

The Diva's reviews:
Out Of Time | School Of Rock | Casa De Los Babys

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