Starring: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Miranda Cosgrove
Director: Richard Linklater
Running Time: 109 mins
School Of Rock is an American film about a lazy struggling rock musician who takes up a job as a substitute teacher in a prestigious elementary school, and decides to use his class of fourth-graders to make a band that can win him enough money to pay off his rent.
This is a hugely beloved film, and it’s so easy to see why. Richard Linklater directs a music comedy full of life and laughs, and manages to provide enough glee and enjoyment to bypass a somewhat average plot. Meanwhile, the movie is full of fantastic performances across the board, and features a hugely entertaining soundtrack, making it a massively enjoyable watch from start to finish.
If there’s one thing that really stands out about School Of Rock, though, it’s Jack Black. Taking on the generic slacker character, Black is fantastically charismatic and energetic at every moment, showing his character to be so much more than a slacker, but someone who’s just really passionate about music. Many actors would have taken the slapstick route to make the character entertaining, but Jack Black goes a step further.
Yes, his comedic ability is still second-to-none, and he provides loads of great laughs, but the main reason that his character is so likable is his relentless passion. Whether it’s early on in the film when his class aren’t quite on board with his music, or nearer the end when the band really kicks into action, watching Jack Black is always huge fun, because you get to see a man basically putting his heart and soul into every note of music he teaches and plays.
But it’s not just Jack Black in the lead role, because all of the supporting performances are fantastic too. Joan Cusack does a great job as the school’s principal, and in tandem with what is probably the best story line in the movie, makes her character’s development very refreshing. Also, all of the kids are great on screen, thanks to excellent chemistry with Jack Black, a huge range of characters that make the class as vibrant a group as possible, and impressively mature (and not annoying) turns when it comes to some of the more adult jokes.
That’s another interesting thing about this film. The premise would have you believe this is a kids’ movie, but that’s not entirely the case. Whilst this is still a good, enjoyable film for kids to watch, it’s actually oriented at a more adult audience who, like our main character and director Richard Linklater, have a passion for music.
I can’t say that I’m a big rock and roll fan, but I know a good rock song when I hear it, and that’s what really makes this film stand out so much. Yet another example of Linklater’s exceptional ability for great soundtracks, School Of Rock is as much about the best of rock and roll as anything else, giving it a unique and pulsating vibe throughout.
Overall, this is a really entertaining film. A few issues with a somewhat underwhelming plot don’t make it a great, but for the most part, it’s impossible not to enjoy the fantastically funny and charismatic Jack Black, working brilliantly with a great cast, fantastic directing and an amazing soundtrack that makes School Of Rock one of the best music movies you’ve seen in a long time, and that’s why it gets a 7.8 from me.