Hell-raising guitarist with delusions of grandeur Dewey Finn (Jack Black) has been kicked out of his band. Desperate for work, he impersonates a substitute teacher and turns a class of fifth grade high-achievers into high-voltage rock and rollers.

A fun, edgy film for kids.

Dewey Finn (Jack Black) lives for rock, but his over the top style is a touch excessive for his mates in the band who vote him out. On top of that, his friend and room-mate Ned (Mike White), egged on by his new girlfriend, demands that Dewey pay his share of the rent, money Dewey doesn't have. Ned's a substitute teacher, and when Dewey answers a call offering his friend a job at a posh private school run by Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), he barely hesitates; he pretends to be Ned and takes the job himself. Of course, he doesn't know the first thing about teaching, but so what? These stitched up kids could certainly do with a healthy dose of rock 'n' roll.

Black is in consummate form and is very, very funny

Your response to The School Of Rock will very much depend on your response to Jack Black, who dominates the film with a tenacious grip. Playing pretty much the same character he did in High Fidelity, Black is in consummate form and is very, very funny. The young actors who play the kids who find themselves with this highly unusual teacher are also terrific, as is Joan Cusack, who seems to revel in the role of the prissy headmistress who's not beyond letting her hair down.

Basically, the screenplay by Mike White is a modern version of Strike Up The Band and those other MGM musicals about kids who made their own music in a more innocent age, but with avant-garde director Richard Linklater behind the camera, there's an edge to this picture that's welcome and surprising. And 'surprising' pretty much sums up this film – in the most positive sense.