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School of Rock

Turn the cheesiness level down low and turn the rock all the way up. This is Jack Black at his very best; think that scene in High Fidelity where his character confronts a father trying to buy a Lionel Ritchie record for his daughter and multiply it by a hundred. Black is Dewey Finn, a hard-core rock star in his heart but a failing, freeloading underappreciated musician in the outside world. After getting harassed by the shrewish girlfriend (Sarah Silverman) of his roommate, he gets a gig substitute teaching at a prestigious elementary school with a tightly wound principal (Joan Cusack). While there he turns his class of students (a group of first-time actors and talented musicians/singers who all give great performances) into kick-ass rockers who have no problem sticking it to the man. You can thank writer (and actor- as the original Mr. Schneebly ) Mike White and director Richard Linklater for the fine balance of humor and feel-good moments which prevent the movie from becoming a B-minus gross-out comedy full of lame hijinks or a sugar-coated after-school special dripping with Hollywood sentimentality. And despite sounding like an ad jingle, the movie was funny for adults and funny for the kids.