Review of 'The School of Rock'

school_of_rock.jpg Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a down-on-his-luck rockstar wannabee living with his friend Ned Schneebly (Mike White), a substitute teacher. When he receives a call for Ned offering a temporary position with a prestigious local private school and an attractive pay package Finn pretends he is his roommate and accepts the job. Finn finds he is quickly out of his depth with the talented children in his assigned class. After overhearing a music practice he realises they are also musically talented as well so sees an opportunity to win a local “Battle of the Bands” competition and teach them something about what it is to be a rock star.

Having seen the musical (oddly) before the movie (see my review of the musical here) I have to say I found the film far darker and lacking a lot of the fun that is in the musical. The later really celebrates the talent of these gifted children but here they play a minor role to Finn's antics. Having said that, the antics are definitely amusing and Black, when on form as he is here, is very funny. Here is dominates every scene he is in which is good as he really holds the film together. However, I think this is unfortunate as a trick was missed here by not giving us too much of an attachment on who should really be the focus of the story: These talented children and the issues they face in the private school environment. This is only lightly touched on, which is a shame (but the musical…).

The supporting cast are all caricatures and perform their role adequately but no Oscars were handed out here. The visuals are sufficient but not in any way stunning including the concert finale (I don't think I am giving anything away here) which seems a bit bland.

For my money, I would perhaps watch this film as an appetiser but see the musical for the true soul of this story. Still, quite funny and a great plot-line. Fans of Jack Black will be in heaven in a set piece suited for his outrageous persona.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2017-07-15

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2003

Length: 108 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Other reviewed films by Jonathan Liebesman: