Rocker Dewey Finn (Jack Black) needs money desperately, so he borrows his roommate’s (Mike White) name and starts working as a sub teacher at a posh private school. I guess Richard Linklater is one director who knew how to coax a fine performance out of the unruly comedian; Black is outstanding as the undisciplined, egotistic slacker who realizes that the kids are so good at playing classical music that he can transform them into a great rock band. There’s a formula of course, and Joan Cusack’s strict principal is somewhat cartoony, but the kids are genuinely charming and the scenes in the classroom are very well directed; this is hilarious family entertainment.
2003-U.S. 108 min. Color. Produced by Scott Rudin. Directed by Richard Linklater. Screenplay: Mike White. Cast: Jack Black (Dewey Finn), Joan Cusack (Rosalie Mullins), Mike White (Ned Schneebly), Sarah Silverman, Joey Gaydos, Jr., Maryam Hassan.
Trivia: Stephen Frears was allegedly considered for directing duties. Later a stage musical and a TV series (2016- ).
Last word: “White brings edge to his stories, and Linklater brings reality, honesty, and believability. He reins me in, which is important, because I’m always going ten miles too far over the top. So when I go a little too crazy, Linklater brings me back to reality.” (Black, EmanuelLevy.com)