Channel 4: Sunday 4 October, 4.30pm
Jack Black as roly-poly rock’n’roll casualty Dewey Finn, booted out of the band he started (for excessive guitar solos and all-round embarrassing on-stage antics) and threatened with eviction by his landlady. So he mooches off wimpish pal Ned Schneebly, a supply teacher, and bluffs his way into an expensive private school.
Dewey’s going to teach the stuffy middle-class kids all about ‘the awesome power of rock’. He orchestrates a ‘secret class project’ to mold the bemused ten-year-olds into his replacement rock band. Rock history, followed by rock appreciation, and then band practice. “What about math?” asks one.
“Not important!” barks Dewey. “You want me to be a groupie?” echoes snippy miss Miranda Cosgrove with grave suspicion. “I researched groupies on the Internet – they sleep with the band!” Eyes darting like startled fish, Dewey snaps back “No, that’s not true. They’re like cheerleaders.” She’s not convinced, so he makes her the band’s manager.
Taking its cues from AC/DC’s Angus Young – the 1970s ‘rock god’ in scholboy cap and shorts – Richard Linklater’s sweet-natured romp beams with good will from beginning to end. Mike White, the ‘Chuck & Buck’-ster who appears here as Ned, tailored his script for Black, a genuine rock fan who really does have his own band – the hilariously self-important duo Tenacious D.
What’s cute about this school of comedy is that the ladies are funny too – Sarah Silverman is Ned’s extremely judgmental girlfriend and Joan Cusack is the straight-laced principal, a closet Stevie Nicks fan. It’s Black’s show, though, and he hams it up riotously. “No, I’m not a teacher,” he confesses to the outraged parents gathered in the principal’s office. “But I have been touched by your kids and I’m pretty sure I’ve touched them…”