Movie Review
The School of Rock
The School of Rock poster
By Craig Younkin     Published October 4, 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
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.
It's been said so many times, but I'll say it again: Jack Black is a hilarious guy. Okay, so I haven't really said it, but it is true ? he stole the show in ?High Fidelity? and he was the best thing about ?Orange County,? and now his performance in ?School of Rock? just commands almost every part of the film.

He plays Dewey Finn, a guy over thirty who still has those high school dreams of becoming of a rock star. He is constantly told by his roommate Ned (Mike White, who also wrote the script) and his pushy girlfriend (Sarah Silverman) to get a real job, but Dewey is all about the music. It is the only way for the world to rebel against ?the man? and the conformist way of life, and Dewey has taken all this to heart; he is an irresponsible guy with a passion for music.

Dewey believes that the upcoming Battle of the Bands will be his ticket to a dream come true; however, he experiences a serious blow by his band members. They tell him that his antics on stage have become an embarrassment to the rest of the band, and that they are trying to buckle down and get serious; they kick him out, leaving him desperate for a replacement.

Dewey finds refuge in the most unlikely of places ? he gets a call from a private school asking for Ned, who is a substitute teacher. Dewey pretends to be Ned and before he knows it, he is in the front of the classroom staring at a bunch of ten-year-old preps. At first Dewey buys time by making the whole day recess, but then he overhears them in music class and decides to build on their musical talents.

It is easy to tell where this movie is going, but that doesn't mean there isn't a message to be taken from all this. Mike White's screenplay centers on the importance of music and self expression, and that message is brought forth very well by the relationship that develops between Dewey and the kids. Only what White's screenplay doesn't have a lot of is laughs, and that is where Jack Black really saves this film.

Jack Black is a maniac ? he is extremely over the top and energetic, and at times the fact that this guy is around kids seems overly weird. But the saving grace here is that he is also very charismatic and has the ability to make Dewey's passion for music contagious. Black is funny and inspirational without being cheesy, and the chemistry he has with the kids gets better as the movie goes along.

If there was one thing that didn't work for me, though, it was the more serious moments between Black and the kids. When the kids come up to him with their personal problems (i.e., nervousness, or feelings of not being cool enough to be in the band), it felt like clich?s that could have been avoided.

Still, there is much to be taken from School of Rock. 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's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'The School of Rock' Articles
  • Greg's review A-
    October 1, 2003    One of the funniest films I have ever seen. -- Greg Ward
  • Lee's review B
    August 9, 2003    A funny and very enjoyable flick -- Lee Tistaert