A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating: Rated PG-13 for some rude humor and drug references
Starring:Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack
Directed By:Richard Linklater
There is an old saying that says laughter is the best medicine. I’m not sure what disease they were curing, because I know for fact laughter doesn’t cure cancer, nor does it cure AIDS, or makes terminally ill children jump up out of their seats and suddenly become better. But just because laughter doesn’t cure the world’s most deadly diseases, it does keep generations of people enjoying the life they live. For years Hollywood has tapped into this idea and tried to keep audiences laughing at a slew of comedies from the beginning of time. But few comedies really pack as loaded of a punch as the newest Jack Black vehicle, School of Rock.
Dewey Finn is a rock star wannabe. His crazy stage antics and his gifted guitar playing is just what he thinks every band needs; that is until his fellow band members kick him out for a member they believe is more of a “serious” artist. The heartbroken Dewey heads home only to find that he is behind on his rent and his roommates controlling girlfriend is trying to evict him for it. In a last ditch effort, Dewey takes a job as a substitute fourth grade teacher at a local prep school. Knowing nothing other than the ways of the Rock and Roll lifestyle, Dewey begins teaching the kids how to Rock and Roll, and begins to form a band of youngsters that he believes will help him kick start his music career.
I haven’t laughed this hard in a movie in a long, long time. Every minute of this film is jam packed full of fun jokes, humorous antics and all around fun. The premise of the movie is so ridiculous that it makes you laugh out loud numerous times. Writer and co-star Mike White does a great job of not resorting to more low brow humor and toilet humor jokes to make his film work. Few comedies now days can resist the chance to stick in a few fart jokes in their films, most of the time in the most ridiculous of places. But School of Rock stays above that bar, relying on the comedic antics of the characters.
No one in Hollywood has every doubted Jack Black for On Screen Charisma. The guy oozes it every time you see him. A year ago, (after seeing “Shallow Hal”) I couldn’t see Black as a lead actor. I started to believe Jack Black was just destined to be one of the great supporting stars of our time (right up in ranks with John C. Reilly and Bill Paxon). But School of Rock changed that perspective quickly. Black’s on screen antics are so much fun; he almost makes you beg for more. At no point in the 2 hours of this film was I ever tired of watching Jack Black work. Black has so much emotion and energy in his performance and many times you wonder how many pixie stix he ate before he went to work. His combo of ludicrous antics, ridiculous songs, and a full variety of facial expressions make this film an all around joy to watch.
But every great movie isn’t just the work of one man. Jack Black had many small doses of help all over the place. His cast of 4th Grade students was a riot to watch, and at times their antics and comments made the film a joy to watch. Also toss into the mix Joan Cusack who does an outstanding job as well. Joan was hilarious, and made me think she does still have a career ahead of her that doesn’t involve “Just Phone Joan” US Cellular commercials.
Earlier this year I was planning on saying that Old School, even in it’s mediocrity was one of the better comedies I have seen in recent years, and hands down the best I have seen this season. But Jack Black’s antics mixed with Mike White’s writing have stolen my heart. School of Rock is hands down one of the better comedies I have seen in recent years. In a time where washed up Saturday Night Live Stars churn out mediocre films time and time again, it is nice to see a comedy that makes you laugh the entire way through, picks you up and never puts you down, and is a true gem from start to finish.
Is School of Rock worth your ticket price? If you haven’t figured it out yet, the answer is yes. Go out of your way to see this comedy, it’s a blast if you are in for a slew of good laughs. Although I still am not sure what laughter is the best medicine for, I still know everyone enjoys doing it, and this is a film that will have you rolling with laughter