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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Jack Black
Mike White
Joan Cusack
Sarah Silverman
Adam Pascal
Lucas Papaelias.
Directors
Richard Linklater.
Screenwriters
Mike White.
Running Time
109 minutes

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The School Of Rock
A hilarious Jack Black is the failing rock musician who takes on a teaching job


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Plot
Dewey has been kicked out of the latest in a long line of rock groups, and he's about to be kicked out of his apartment, too. In an attempt to earn money, he takes a teaching job intended for his flatmate. But what starts out as an excuse for paid slacking turns into a life arrirming


Review
This unashamed ode to the power of rock music was a sleeper hit in the States last year and confirmed what we at Empire have known for ages: that, given the right material, Jack Black is a bona fide movie star. 'Shallow Hal' - Black's previous leading role, after his breakout turn in Stephen Frears' 'High Fidelity' was not the right material.

'The School Of Rock', though, is a perfect fit, and the result is the feel-good hit of the year thus far. Be warned, though: if you think a little Jack Black goes a long way, then this isn't for you. For everyone else, Black gives one of the finest comic lead performances since Jim Carrey's early, funny period.

Screenwriter Mike White (who also co-stars as Black's roommate) penned the film specifically for Black, and it shows. The highly-strung Dewey Finn may be a watered-down version of the actor's anarchic Tenacious D persona, but Black's leering, grinning, gurning, sweating, wisecracking turn is a comedic tour de force, augmented by an obvious passion for the subject.

Indie darlings Richard Linklater and White (who also wrote 'The Good Girl' and 'Chuck & Buck') are savvy enough to know that 'The School Of Rock' is a cross between, say, 'Dead Poets Society' and 'Sister Act', and they wholeheartedly embrace formula conventions. Shy kid harbouring an amazing voice? Check. Selfish teacher learning to care for others? Check.

But they also inject these cliches with much-needed energy and humour, while gently subverting the formula and cloaking the film's exuberance in a muted, autumnal colour scheme, which manages to avoid gooey sentiment. In fact, what should be the film's key emotional moment (an unmasked Dewey's heartfelt plea for clemency from the kids' irate parents) rapidly becomes a very funny, if slightly dubious, paedophile gag.

But all the genre gymnastics wouldn't have mattered if the kids weren't alright. Luckily, they graduate with honours. Not only are they genuinely good musicians but, as actors, they show enough chutzpah to hold their own against Black. For Linklater to prise one good performance from a child actor is commendable. To get seven, without any hint of the Stepford Stage School, is a charming and winning surprise - much like the movie itself.


Verdict
The School Of Rock is more satisfying than a crunching power chord. A raucous crowd pleaser with a pumping soundtrack, some awe inspiringly talented kids, and perfect comic performances. Charming.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt


Related Reviews
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School Of Rock, The
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The School Of Rock
Empire Star Rating

Great Family Fun

This is a great family comedy, with a performance of comedic genius from Jack Black. After watching this I understand why Black is so highly rated ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by johncarrelson at 11:00, 13 July 2009 | Report This Post


School of rock

Perhaps in the not to distant future this will go down as one of the finest comedies of the decade. Jack Black is monumental in this film. The kids are monumental in this film. And that emotional scene with the parents is quite simply the best peodophile gag ever seen in film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Blue Ryan at 20:36, 22 June 2009 | Report This Post


This film is incredible. I've seen it so many times and it never really gets old. Jack Black is a great modern comic and is pretty much a big kid himself. Great soundtrack and overall a great comedy film. Highly recommended. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 19:02, 27 December 2008 | Report This Post


Remains as Jack Black's only great performance, charming entertainment with a great soundtrack. With a bunch of talented people, a fantastic script and a wonderful director, School of Rock is a great achievement. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 10:06, 29 July 2008 | Report This Post


School Of Rock

A good laugh. A great sound track. Some annoying kids. Great film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rockerjo at 14:37, 21 January 2007 | Report This Post


School of Rock

was just another in a long line of fantastically brilliantly hillarious jack black performances, his comedy and the young actors(no annoying little brats) means that this is a comedy for all the family. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by devenden at 11:08, 13 December 2006 | Report This Post


School of Rock

was just another in a long line of fantastically brilliantly hillarious jack black performances, his comedy and the young actors(no annoying little brats) means that this is a comedy for all the family. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by devenden at 11:08, 13 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

Very funny film with one wonderful merrit: no annoying child-actors. It felt all very narural. Fun premise, cool music. Wonderful family entertainment.   Bob ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BobM70 at 16:54, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

Definately a fun film and I like the fact it's a comedy which the whole family can enjoy. Personally I think Jack Black is great ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 13:49, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

I really enjoyed this, not a 5 star film by any means but good fun. Jack Black's best performance by far. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WilliamMunny at 13:39, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

Its ok a bit over rated ... More

Posted by zombiemaster at 11:56, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

All a bit old hat really.  I don't understand why it is given the praise it so often gets.  Jack Black cannot anchor a film - he hasn't been funny since High Fidelity where he didn't have to shoulder the whole film.   Average. 6/10 ... More

Posted by Groovy Mule at 10:31, 30 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

]I don't often switch a film off, but I had to make an exception for this.  I can't cope with his 'Aldi Belushi' schtick. ... More

Posted by shearerisgod at 17:54, 29 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

Excellent for the young and old.  Very funny, great music and Jack Black's star turn. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 17:36, 29 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

Extremely overrated (as is the star) - 2/5. ... More

Posted by BobaJango at 19:58, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: School Of Rock

I love this film, all. Jack Black perhaps in his best performance. ... More

Posted by Anglachel at 17:53, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE:

just saw it last night and it was very good. very enjoyable and funny, and the music isnt halfbad eitehr! ... More

Posted by kumar at 10:28, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


Great fun, with an awesome soundtrack. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by i007_Bond_007i at 12:50, 11 October 2006 | Report This Post


Great fun, with an awesome soundtrack. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by i007_Bond_007i at 12:50, 11 October 2006 | Report This Post


School of rock, rocks!

I loved this film I thought it was amazing! Been a big rock fan that I am, I loved the whole rock theme, from the songs that they make up to Jack Black's amazing singing (Tenacious D rule by the way!)! This film is a must see! Fun for everyone! Even thouse who don't like rock! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 11:46, 05 May 2006 | Report This Post


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