A down-on-his-luck, not very scrupulous rocker jolts his way into a job as a substitute fifth-grade teacher in a fussily academic private school, and before long the joint is jumping.

CAST: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, Joey Gaydos, Maryam Hassan, Kevin Alexander Clark, Rebecca Brown, Bobert Tsai, Caitlin Hale

DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater

"‘School of Rock’ made me laugh harder than any movie I’ve seen this year…The kids, in essence, play group straight man to Black, and Black gives back everything he’s got. It’s a bravura, all-stops-out, inexhaustibly inventive performance…Black may never again get a part that displays his mad-dog comic ferocity to such brilliant effect. He, and the movie, kick ass." --David Ansen, Newsweek





"Black is in practically every scene of ‘School of Rock,’ and yet there’s never too much of him. He’s so comically inventive that if you look away from the screen for even a moment, you’ll miss something. His high-energy caterwauling isn’t tiresome, because he’s somehow built a full range of emotional levels into his rant. He’s a living contradiction: a nuanced blunderbuss…His scenes with the incomparable Joan Cusack, playing Rosalie, the prissy principal he purposefully gets drunk, are sublimely clownish duets." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"‘School of Rock’ is uncut bliss: It had me buzzing, bopping up and down in my seat, practically pogoing out of the theater playing air guitar…one of the biggest highs I've had at the movies in years…a joyous, uplifting, go-for-it family picture that takes you back to the primal rock 'n' roll impulse, with its Dionysian rage…part of what's so touching about ‘School of Rock’ is that it's clearly from the work of shy people: It's a rock-'n'-roll anthem for the timid." --David Edelstein, Slate

"…a lithe and lovable movie that could easily become one of the year's biggest hits, and a major player in the Oscar race to boot…‘The School of Rock’ is first and foremost a very funny film, and a very pleasant one that doesn't really have a villain. Credit for its hilarity goes largely to Black, who gives the performance of his career as a character who might have seemed merely coarse and crude in less gifted hands…Cheers also go to Mike White, who wrote the inventive screenplay and plays Ned the nebbishy landlord -- a perfect role for White's self-effacing style." --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor

"In Richard Linklater's ‘School of Rock,’ Jack Black gives the best performance by an actor I didn't care if I ever saw again. Black (‘Shallow Hal’) has an obnoxious screen presence. His cocky attitude, noise level and schlumpy physique -- often cloaked only in a pair of Jockeys -- are a general assault on the senses. But ‘School of Rock’ may be to Black what ‘The Nutty Professor’ was to Jerry Lewis, or ‘Groundhog Day’ was to Bill Murray -- that rare, perfectly tailored opportunity to play against one's broadest impulses. Not to neutralize them, necessarily, but to tame them and turn them into something very human and charming…You won't see a more dominant comedy performance this year." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"What seems serendipitous about Richard Linklater's new movie, easily the funniest film of the year and one of those 'movies for all ages' (seriously) is Jack Black...[his] Dewey is a man who hasn't realized his dreams. He won't be famous; his music is the equivalent of a Gary Coleman gubernatorial campaign. But what he does find, in the last stretches of Linklater's film, is his niche, as a nurturer and promoter of other people's talent. It's a pretty good gig. And 'School of Rock' is a pretty terrific movie." --John Anderson, Newsday

"…an exuberant, raucous and thoroughly endearing comedy…the movie is perfectly suited to Black's talents, both as a singer and as a comedian: With his uncanny vocal range and gift for gracefully elephantine physical comedy, he's like Jackie Gleason simultaneously channeling Sam Cooke, Steve Perry and Meatloaf…Even during those rare moments when he stops the compulsive chatter, self-interruption and ambidextrously jumping eyebrows that have become his trademark, he rewards viewers with an honest, tightly focused performance." --Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

"… utterly adorable…The film serves as the manic star vehicle Jack Black has been waiting for and may never have again: as unwatchable as he was in‘Shallow Hal,’ that's how engaging he is here…Don't go to ‘School’ expecting narrative surprises, or believability. It enlivens rather than reinvents the timeworn formula, and a reliance on ethnic and cultural stereotypes may annoy nitpickers. Nor is it inspirational treacle--Black is too unrestrained to be anybody's Mr. Chips." --Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

"…the first kid movie that parents will like more than their children…‘School of Rock’ is as serious as it can be about its comic subject, and never condescends to its characters or its audience. The kids aren't turned into cloying little clones, but remain stubborn, uncertain, insecure and kidlike. And Dewey Finn doesn't start as a disreputable character and then turn gooey. Jack Black remains true to his irascible character all the way through; he makes Dewey's personality not a plot gimmick, but a way of life…Here is a movie that proves you can make a family film that's alive and well-acted and smart and perceptive and funny -- and that rocks." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"The movie is a very funny for-kids-of-all-ages delight that should catapult Mr. Black straight to the top of the A-list of Hollywood funnymen. Not since Jim Carrey twitched, mugged and leered his way to the head of the class has a comic actor stirred up such a gleeful furor on the screen." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Hurling himself into the role of pop pedagogue Dewey Finn, Jack Black is consistently hilarious…Black, a beady-eyed performer not known for his subtlety, exceeds even Cage in physical comedy, at times exhibiting a chubby grace that can suggest Zero Mostel's. Loud and obnoxious, a fount of inane jive, absurd bluster, and banshee shrieks, his Dewey lords over the set—delivering Mike White's rock clichés with lunatic conviction…Piloted by Black's endearingly obnoxious true believer, ‘School of Rock’ successfully navigates between the sentimental Scylla of ‘Dead Poets Society’ and the cloying Charybdis of ‘The Bad News Bears’" --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Jack Black has been hovering at the edges of stardom for several years now, but ‘The School of Rock’ should finally propel him into bona fide superstar status. The movie is a polished (and irresistible) piece of crowd-pleasing formula and deserves to become a monster hit…Black may not be the most talented or gifted actor around, but he has something too many performers lack nowadays: A manic, outsized personality. Black is physically incapable of being boring (he's a direct descendant of the John Belushi school of performance), but he's a real person, too, and his energy keeps the movie spinning at 78 rpm." --Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald

"All hail Jack Black, who finally goes to the head of the class in ‘School of Rock,’ a hip and consistently hilarious family comedy…Cusack has perhaps her most rewarding screen role ever as the tightly wound principal, whom Dewey discovers is a closet Stevie Nicks fan, a fact he hilariously exploits in a delightful scene set in a bar. But ‘School of Rock’ is Black's show…this newly minted star demonstrates he's arrived as a worthy plus-size successor to John Belushi and John Candy." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Hail! Hail! Jack Black: He's the clown king of rock & roll…This is pretty tame stuff for a wild man like Black, not to mention screenwriter Mike White (‘Chuck and Buck,’‘The Good Girl’) and indie director Richard Linklater (‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘Waking Life’) -- kid-friendly crowd pleasers are hardly their meat. But even education can't kill the demon of fun in Black." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone