I went to see a preview screening of the new Jack Black film, and was more entertained than I thought I’d be. Yes, Jack Black is over the top most of the time he’s on the screen, but he’s playing a caricature of himself in this film, so it’s okay. And the humor can be crude, but it works in the context of the film.
The music was really good, and a lot of the film was presented in the form of a rock-and-roll musical. The opening salvo, featuring Meatloaf as Black’s father, was sheer genius. And many Hollywood notables made appearances as various characters in the film: Ben Stiller (one of the film’s producers) as the manager of a guitar store; Tim Robbins as a down-on-his-luck Eastern European rocker; and Colin Hanks as a drunk frat boy. And the rock-and-roll community was involved as well, with Ronny James Dio (Black Sabbath) playing himself, and Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters) as The Devil.
The original music in the film was written by Tenacious D – Black and Kyle Gass, who also plays himself in the film – and it pays homage to the metal rock stylings of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s with tremendous respect and, dare I say it, restraint. The script (written by Black, Gass, and parody rocker Liam Lynch) moves along at a good pace, and Lynch’s direction is quite capable.
The movie doesn’t aspire to being anything great, and it succeeds because of this. There is a lot of farce in the film, but it’s really a simple tale of friendship and never giving up on a dream. Tenacious D in ‘The Pick of Desitiny’ is not high art (save for some of the music), and it’s not for everybody; but if you can handle Jack Black for about 90 minutes, it’s an enjoyable musical romp.