Saturday, November 01, 2003

School of Rock (IMDB) (Netflix)
"Those who can't do, teach" and rocker Jack Black reinforces the stereotype, possessing an uncontestable love for the genre, but lacking the talent (or interpersonal skills) to take his band to pay-the-rent status. He finally gets fired by the band he founded, and out of desperation lands a gig as a substitute teacher at a snooty prep school run by Joan Cusack. Black has no absolutely interest in teaching his kids until he hits on a scheme to use these prodigies to get back into the music game. It's the old fish-out-of-water comedy vehicle, one that gives Black plenty of maneuvering room for his signature over-the-top comic intensity.

The only real tension here is between the formulaic story and Black's force of personality; which will win out? Cusack is the priggish principle who longs to be liked by her subordinates, Mike White is Black's buddy hen-pecked by bitch-on-wheels Sara Silverman, and the kids are instantly and universally lovable. In the other corner are Jack's mobile eyebrows and total lack of self-governance, which won over much of the audience, especially the kids, but for the harder hearts it was more like a standoff.