The gullible audience is a constant – Adam Sandler and Twilight are continuing evidence of that, so who will try on the shoes previously filled by Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act), Johnny Knoxville (The Ringer) and Will Ferrell (most of his crappy films).
In this case it will be Jack Black that takes the role as a guy who shouldn’t be doing the thing that he tasked with doing, namely teaching young and impressionable kids.
As the intense but ill equipped rocker Dewey Finn, Black has no business being in front of a bunch of kids, but this is indeed exactly what happens. Within days he has scrapped the curriculum in favour of forming a pre-pubescent supergroup from the similarly unprepared class.
Joan Cusack is the buttoned down principal who just doesn’t understand, and Sarah Silverman the serious and proper girlfriend of Dewey’s roommate who represents the ‘square establishment’, despite the fact that every doubt and misgiving she expresses being accurate. I mean would you want your impressionable child taught by a slobby drunk loser with ‘rock guitarist’ as the only entry on his cv?
Me neither. I don’t care how humerous his joke band Tenacious D was (at least the first album was).
As the film moves towards the inevitably uplifting Battle of the Bands finale these straitlaced students of many stereotypes (the nerd, the overconfident primadonna, the awkward fat kid, and most regrettably the gay fashion designer), all get their one on one scene with JB, leading us to wonder ‘is he teaching them? Or are they really teaching him?’
Meanwhile Jack Black gets to once again prove that he is the master of the unnecessarily grandiose gesture and the faux pompous statement, while churning out lines that seem like they should be funny, but just aren’t, including using the ‘Greatest love of all’ lyrics for lazy comedic purposes for the 137th time.
I almost forgave it all. But then they forced entry into the Battle of the Bands line up by pretending that the kids were all terminally ill patients fulfilling one last wish. I cannot condone such a reprehensible action in the name of family comedy, and this, along with the cliched clothes designer, are reasons that I will wait until the Russell Brand rehash (that we are 100% sure to see in the coming couple of years) to share with my son.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. They had a decent thing going here, why sully it with unsavoury and frankly loathsome elements? If all else fails kids, pretend you’re dying!?!