As teacher training films go, School of Rock is different. It's not just that our hero, Black's quack supply teacher Dewey Finn, is to all purposes a headbanging jackass who can't even spell his claimed name ('Schneebly'); nor that his tutoring style has all the selfless delicacy of Brian Glover's football refereeing in Kes. What makes his encounter with a class of prep-school fifth graders the greatest breakthrough in pedagogy since Bill and Ted met Socrates is his discovery that even square kids might yet be saved by a swift baptism in the rejuvenating fount of Rock. Of course, some will see Dewey's class rock-band project as just one big fat joke. Sure, he's a geek, a deadweight: 'I've been mooching off you for years, and it's never been a problem until she showed up,' he protests to his dweebish pal Ned (screenwriter White), whose carping girlfriend wants Dewey to grow up, clock on and clear out. But what kind of sick society feeds its offspring Christina and Puff Daddy, and buries the riffs of Sabbath and the mighty Zep in the section marked 'sad-sack '70s timewarp'? To hear the New York Times, School of Rock's call to arms couldn't really happen ('The molding of a fifth-grade class into a well-oiled rock machine in a few weeks is also inconceivable'), but Linklater leaves cynicism at the door, folding Black's hairier solo instincts into the group mix. A cathartic class comedy for kids of all sizes, it's Bugsy Malone in rock pomp, Slacker meets Spy Kids.
Cast and crew
Joey Gaydos Jr