Studies show that children who receive an education in music perform better in math and science than those who do not. That being said, I don’t think rock-and-roll was the genre of music that researchers had in mind. The School of Rock starring Jack Black (Orange County), however, is a movie that begs to differ.
In the movie, Dewey Finn (Black) is a hard-core guitarist and rock fan who has been kicked out of his band thanks to his five-minute solos and extreme need for creative control. Dewey’s roommate, Ned (Mike White, writer, The Good Girl), is putting pressure on him for his share of the rent, which Dewey hasn’t paid in months. This being the case, Dewey jumps at the chance to make a few bucks. The chance comes when a prestigious private grade school calls for Ned, looking for a substitute teacher. Dewey secretly takes the job, posing as his roommate. The first few days are a little rough. Dewey has no training in education after all. He even arrives one day with a hang over. After he hears his students in music class, however, he is struck with a “face melting” (that means cool) idea. He decides to turn his class of brilliant young minds into a rock band great enough to win the Battle of the Bands and $1,000.
To tell the truth, I was kind of disappointed with this movie at first. I was expecting to see Jack Black in his typical moronic comedic role (which makes me laugh to tears, by the way). Instead, it was a slightly more sophisticated part. This, however, didn’t make the movie any less hysterical in the end. In fact, it was much better than I expected.
The supporting cast, including the kids played by Joey Gaydoas (lead guitar), Miranda Cosgrove (band manager), Kevin Clark (drums), Robert Tsai (keyboard), Maryam Hussan (vocals), and Brian Falduto (band stylist) really make the movie. Black plays off of them, acting like a big kid rather than a teacher. Surprisingly, he is still able to come off as a good role model. Joan Cusack (What About Joan) plays the school’s principal. While this certainly isn’t Cusack at her best, she still gives a good performance.
The story, written by White, is clever and sweet, portraying the confidence and sense of identity developed in the kids through learning how to rock. Its humor is chiefly derived from the “adult in a kid’s world” technique. While Dewey’s jokes may go right over his students’ heads, the audience gets the humor, magnified by the misunderstanding.
Overall, School of Rock is a silly but sweet movie that will have audiences laughing, singing, and highly entertained.
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