School of Rock (7/10)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


If you went to the movies in the early ‘40s, you were sure to hear Mickey Rooney say to Judy Garland, “Let’s put on a show!”  Judy would say OK and these teenagers would put on a show that would make Hollywood proud.  If you go to the movies in 2003, you’ll hear Dewey Finn (Jack Black), in lieu of teaching them the three R’s (which he couldn’t do if his life depended on it), say to a classroom full of precocious fifth-graders at an exclusive school, “Let’s go to The Battle of the Bands!”

 Let’s face it, this is ridiculous. Dewey’s training these kids to go up against hard rockers, not appear on Art Linkletter’s Kids Say The Darndest Things, or Mr. Rogers.  Even so, I defy anyone to see this movie and not come out feeling good.  Dewey is a mediocre guitarist/lead singer who is fired from his band and takes a job as a substitute teacher in an elite grammar school to get the money to pay his buddy, Ned Schneebly (Mike White) and his buddy’s girl friend, Patti DiMarco (Sharon Siverman), his share of the rent.

 Worse, he’s masquerading as Ned and has to convince the Principal, Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack) that he’s a real teacher.  Everybody’s good in this.  Black is hilarious. White is loveably weak as Schneebly, Dewey’s easily-manipulated buddy.  Silverman does a wonderful job as Schneedbly’s controlling, bitchy livein girl friend, Patti.  And Cusack is just perfect as uptight Principal Rosalie.

 Good cast, good acting, good script, ridiculous premise, good music (if you like rock) equals entertaining movie.

 October 3, 2003

 The End