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School of Rock
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that School of Rock is as much a vehicle for Jack Black to make rock 'n' roll faces while playing guitar as it is hilarious fun for musicians and music fans of all ages -- even younger than the PG-13 rating would suggest. There is occasional profanity -- some of it spoken by 10-year-olds -- and Black's character freely discusses his hangovers with the class he's teaching. There are brief shots of adult characters drinking and smoking (this is about playing rock 'n' roll, after all), but nothing terribly gratuitous. Beyond this, School of Rock is an enjoyable way for kids to learn about music, and for families to talk about the amount of work and personal satisfaction that results in starting a band. Furthermore, the film addresses body issues in a positive way when one of the girls in class is afraid to sing because she thinks she's "too fat."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SCHOOL OF ROCK, Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a musician who doesn't just live for rock -- he barely acknowledges that there is anything else. Like the music he loves, Dewey is loud, immature, messy, self-absorbed, passionate, incapable of complying with any authority, rule, or attempt at civilization, and just about irresistible. So he is astonished when he is fired by his band. And when his best friend Ned (screenwriter Mike White), a former rocker-turned-substitute teacher, says he will have to move out if he does not start paying rent. When Dewey intercepts a call from Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack) offering Ned a substitute teacher position for fifth graders at a posh prep school, he accepts and shows up pretending to be Ned. The kids and Dewey learn something new through the experience.
Is it any good?
If there was ever someone born to portray the true spirit of rock 'n' roll, it's Jack Black. That is what School of Rock needed, and that is just what he does.
This is by far the most accessible and conventional film from director Richard Linklater (Waking Life, Dazed and Confused) and White (Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl), neither of whom are known for heartwarming, feel-good movies. But that is what this is, a sort of To Sir With Love crossed with This is Spinal Tap. Black is enormously entertaining and the kids are terrific.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how much Dewey loves rock 'n' roll in School of Rock. Why is it so important to him? What does it allow him to express?
How does School of Rock compare with other movies you've seen about starting or performing in a band?
What's the most important thing Dewey learns from the kids, and what is the most important thing they learn from him?
- In theaters: October 3, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: March 2, 2004
- Cast: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White
- Director: Richard Linklater
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Perseverance, Self-control, Teamwork
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some rude humor and drug references
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.