Movie Review
The School of Rock
The School of Rock poster
By Greg Ward     Published October 1, 2003
US Release: October 3, 2003

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jack Black , Mike White , Joan Cusack , Sarah Silverman

Running Time: 108 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $81,258,000
One of the funniest films I have ever seen.
Very rarely does a film come along that literally makes me roll down the aisles with laughter. Not only does ?School of Rock? do this but it evokes real humor, the kind that is humanistic and true. The laughs aren?t forced and come very naturally, resulting in one of the funniest films I have ever seen.

Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a musician who was just thrown out of his own band. Living with his friend and his friend?s nosy and obnoxious girlfriend, he doesn?t exactly live a life of luxury. One day at home, he receives a call from a very prestigious elementary school inquiring about a substitute teaching position. The phone call was meant for his friend, but when he hears about the money offered, he takes the job, taking the identity of his friend at the same time.

Dewey has never had any experience teaching or dealing with kids, so he just tells the kids to have recess and doesn?t do a single thing in terms of teaching. During music class one day, Dewey eavesdrops and realizes how musically gifted the kids are ? he proceeds to form a band with these kids to compete in the big Battle of the Bands competition approaching soon. During this ?project,? he forms a bond with these kids and teaches them a few things about music while they end up teaching him a few life lessons on the way.

Laugh-out-loud comedies on this level are usually far from touching, but ?School of Rock? has some emotional moments. Each of these kids comes from rich families who expect nothing but the best from them. One kid has never touched an electric guitar because his father won?t let him, while another kid doesn?t feel that he?s cool enough to be in the band because he is afraid that kids will laugh at him.

This film shows that just because someone is rich doesn?t mean that they don?t have feelings, too. This gives the kids true emotions that the audience can relate to; I haven?t seen a film in a long time where I loved every kid and cared about what would happen to them throughout the course of this film.

The performances in this film are wonderful. Jack Black, as usual, is over-the-top and hysterical. He brings a certain charm to the Dewey Finn character, a charm I can imagine no other actor bringing to this character at this point. Joan Cusack, who is always good, provides a wonderful performance as the school?s principal. I wish that the film would have given her even more screen time than she actually had, as she is always so enjoyable to watch no matter what kind of part she is playing.

And what can be said about the kids? I?ll say it once and I?ll say it again: each and every kid in this film is charming and enjoyable, even when they are not uttering a single word, and I hope to see some of these kids in future projects.

?School of Rock? is a joyous film-going experience. Never before have I laughed so hard, especially since the humor is more natural and less forced. The writing and the directing is sharp, making for a very pleasant experience in the theater ? this is the kind of film that everyone should see, especially if you are the kind of person who dreams of reaching a goal that may not always be hard to achieve.
Greg's Grade: A-
Greg's Overall Grading: 25 graded movies
Share, Bookmark
'The School of Rock' Articles
  • Craig's review B
    October 4, 2003    Director Richard Linklater does a nice job of putting it all together, giving the film the underlying sweetness that will make the audience leave with a smile on their face. -- Craig Younkin
  • Lee's review B
    August 9, 2003    A funny and very enjoyable flick -- Lee Tistaert