12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Big hit with ten-year-olds, fun for parents and grandparents,
This review is from: School of Rock [DVD]  (DVD)
Playing to every music-loving ten-year-old's fantasies, this Richard Linklater film pokes fun at school administrators, pushy parents, kids forced into adult molds too soon, an educational establishment which allows little room for fun in the classroom, and a kid's desire to live a life that's secret from his parents. Great fun to watch and often very funny, the film is full of clichés and stereotyped characters, but that's why it works so well for kids--they can see aspects of themselves in several characters, recognize their own insecurities, but see that life is fun.
Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a manic rock-and-roll wannabe who has lost his job, intercepts a phone call to his roommate, Ned Schneebly (Mike White), about a substitute teaching job at an elite urban prep school and, desperately needing cash, takes the job teaching uptight fifth graders with highly motivated parents. Pretending to be Ned and ostensibly teaching the fifth grade core curriculum, he quickly discovers the musical talents of his students, most of whom have been studying serious classical music. Believing they need to be loosened up, he abandons the curriculum and turns his class into a school of rock, hiding his efforts from the principal (neurotically played by Joan Cusack).
Black is off-the-wall with his manic energy, his mugging, and his free-wheeling heavy-metal style, and his good intentions are so obvious from the outset, that even adult viewers, firmly grounded in reality, get caught up in the fun. The kids are terrific as they break out of the molds into which they have been forced by their parents and school and, of course, they become better human beings in the process. Black is so outrageous--and so completely himself--that even the youngest viewer will see him as larger than life.
Written by Mike White, who plays the "real" Ned Schneebly in the film, the film offers Jack Black a chance to dominate the film and have fun both with his music and his mugging. The original music by Jack Black and Mike White, especially the songs like "Math is a Wonderful thing," created on the "spur of the moment," are hilarious, and the demonstration of how a rock song evolves is amusing to watch. Good, clean fun for the middle school set, parents, and grandparents, this is a film which appeals to that awkward age between childhood innocence and adolescence without being saccharine and condescending. Mary Whipple