Caught up with The School of Rock on telly last night, and wished I'd recorded it. It turned out not to be in the least bit offensive, unless you regard rock 'n' roll as offensive in itself - as plainly some of the parents of children at this uptight school do. It's probably a fairly conventional story - oddball teacher (in this case he's not a teacher at all) takes hold of a straight-laced class and turns them into human beings - and it's been done umpteen times. The difference here is Jack Black, who's never been an actor I was much endeared to. In this movie, however, he's so alive and so hilarious with it, and such a screwball with a passion that you can't help but love him. (Both the character and Black's playing of him.) Black fills each scene with such manic energy that it's a wonder he doesn't explode. He's absolutely crazy, but manages a bit of responsibility when necessary. He's certainly more alive than his boring flatmate - and the boring flatmate's even more boring girlfriend who accuses everyone else around of manipulating when she's the one actually doing it.
Joan Cusack is a classic match for Black's antic personality. She seems all together, but just every so often some weird look comes into her eyes, and you know there's another maniac just waiting to break out. She never quite gets the chance to do it, even though she's primed a little with some beer in one scene, and later on meets a rock bandsman with a brain as speedy as a snail's, and almost seems to be about to leap all over his superb body (which he invitingly keeps on touching!).
There isn't a member of the cast who puts a foot wrong: the kids are great, the parents have their own manic style (the moment when it's announced that their teacher is a fraud is wonderful, as they all melt into: there's an axe murderer teaching our children), and the various rock band players are as dopey as they come - but endearing.
Mike White wrote the script, and plays the slow-witted flat mate. Brilliantly.
I loved it.