The School of Rock

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The ViewAuckland Review

Review byMatthew Turner3/11/2003

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Genuinely hilarious comedy with a performance of blistering comic genius from Jack Black.

The School Of Rock is an intriguing prospect because it unites two of independent cinema’s biggest talents: director Richard Linklater (Slackers, Waking Life) and writer Mike White (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl). The result is easily one of the funniest films of the year, thanks to a terrific script and a truly hilarious performance from comic powerhouse Jack Black.

Wannabe Rock Star Uses Children…

Black plays Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star who gets kicked out of his own band after one spectacularly misjudged stage-dive too many. Under pressure from his flatmate (Mike White) to come up with the rent he poses as a substitute teacher at an exclusive prep school run by frosty principal Miss Mullins (Joan Cusack) and decides to try and turn his class of nerdy ten year olds into a rock band to compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

The script is wonderful – there are big laughs in practically every scene as well as literally dozens of quotable one-liners. However, it’s impossible to imagine the script working as well with any other actor, as Jack Black is utterly brilliant in the role and makes his every line a delight.

Playing the character as, essentially, a bit of an obnoxious loser (mooching off his friend, still dreaming about being a rock star despite a lack of talent, selfishly manipulating the class towards his own goals), he’s never less than sympathetic and his relationship with the children is both touching and well-observed. (It also leads to the best gag in the film).

Too Many Good Scenes To List

There’s also good support from the always reliable Joan Cusack, as well as the entire class of kids, particularly Maryam Hassan as the fat girl with a hidden talent and Miranda Cosgrove as the precocious Summer.

There are so many good scenes in the film that it would be impossible to list them all but The School of Rock puts other ‘inspirational teacher’ movies to shame. It even manages to avoid a few of the more obvious clichés – despite the familiar plot, it somehow doesn’t feel like a cynical ‘studio’ comedy and this is almost certainly due to White’s superb script.

It also goes without saying that it has a killer soundtrack – as bizarre as it sounds, you’ll probably come out of the movie singing an AC/DC song…

In short, The School of Rock, well, rocks. Quite simply, it’s one of the best comedies of the year, if not THE best. Unmissable.

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The School of Rock
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Content updated: 14/11/2019 01:56

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