'School of Rock' full of music and fun

    It could have been an affront to music fans and parents everywhere, but Jack Black manages to take a potentially dangerous and disastrous premise for a film ‹ a loud and large middle-aged failed musician who turns a classroom of 10-year-old prep-school kids into a rock band ‹ and make it the fun, feel-good movie of the season. Sure, it is cheesy and corny, but Black is hilarious as the overgrown child and aspiring rockstar Dewey Finn, and the kids are amazing to watch.

    Granted, it is not incredibly original and is disappointingly mainstream for veteran indie director Richard Linklater (“”Dazed and Confused”” and “”Waking Life””), but if you are in the mood for a silly laugh and some serious talent, then “”School of Rock”” is the movie to see.

    Although it may not be entirely due to his talent, Black portrays the lazy drunkard Dewey in an eerily realistic manner and his transformation from squalid goofball to earnest music teacher is a realistic and engaging trajectory. Through his very vocal and equally physical performance, Black shows how Dewey goes from being an apathetic temp to a guy willing to say to a mob of angry parents, “”Your kids have touched me, and I’m pretty sure I’ve touched them too.”” Lucky for him, “”School of Rock”” serves as a perfect place for him to showcase his own musical talents. For those fans of Tenacious D, this film will not disappoint.

    One of the most impressive aspects of the movie is the actual “”rock lessons”” that Black teaches his class. With subjects that included “”rock style,”” “”rock history”” and “”music appreciation,”” Black’s character does more than just teach the kids how to put together a rock band, but also how to stick it to the man.

    As far as supporting characters are concerned, Mike White is perfection as the quiet pushover roommate, Ned Schneebly, who had quit music to be a substitute teacher. And Sarah Silverman is so good at being a bitchy, controlling girlfriend that you will want to slap her.

    The children were, without a doubt, the biggest asset to the film. Joan Cusack’s comedic talent may have been wasted as the uptight Principal Mullins but the adorable naivete, snappy comments ‹ not to mention the incredible musical talent ‹ were used perfectly. They may have been young, but the children displayed a natural ability to take in the information that Finn taught them and use it as their own in a way that real kids do. When the shy pianist Lawrence (Robert Tsai) goes up to Finn and says that he can’t be in the band because he’s not cool enough, the audience has no choice but to utter a unanimous, “”Awww.””

    Not only were the kids talented actors, their musical skill made the movie. Without them, Black would be looking at another “”Shallow Hal.”” Luckily, this is not a stupid comedy that relies on gross humor and fat jokes to get by. This film is all clean, all comedy and all rocking fun!

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