TENACIOUS D IN "THE PICK OF DESTINY"

 

 

Review by Mark Walters

 

Okay.  I like Jack Black.  And I think the idea of Tenacious D is amusing.  I've listened to their music, and followed their actions since they first surfaced.  As much as I enjoy what Jack and Kyle Gass have put together with this "act", it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly fanatical some people tend to be when their band name is mentioned.  I mean it's good, but it ain't exactly the funniest thing since sliced bread... is it?  Well as with all things popular Hollywood has decided to bring the D to the big screen in the film TENACIOUS D AND "THE PICK OF DESTINY", a fictitious comedy explaining the origins behind the band.  This is the kind of thing I could see going direct to video in a heartbeat, but major Hollywood movie?  Really?  Jack Black has become quite an accomplished actor these days, and his career can still easily grow.  But this is one of those... I won't say "vanity" projects, but rather one of those "we can get this made because we want to, so let's do it" type of projects.  That said, is it any good?  Does the off and on genius of the Tenacious D act translate on the big screen?  Will anyone care to find out?

The movie opens by introducing us to a young J.B. (Troy Gentile, in a perfect Jack Black impersonation), who is growing up in a home with frustrated parents, including his disapproving father (Meat Loaf!) who wants his son to give up his rock and roll dreams.  This intro is done completely in song, which is rather amusing.  Young J.B. decides to run away from home in frustration, and pursue his dream of becoming a rock legend.  After several years of journeying to the various "Hollywood" cities throughout America, a grown up J.B. (Jack Black) eventually winds up in the Hollywood, where he stumbles across  a street performer named K.G. (Kyle Gass).  J.B. feels that K.G. is a genius with a guitar, and they'd be perfect together for starting a major band.  But despite his uncanny ability to produce brilliant lyrics off the cuff, J.B.'s inexperience with performing poses a problem.  K.G. agrees to tutor him so that he'll be ready for the big time.  During an impromptu trip to a guitar store, an eccentric clerk (Ben Stiller) tells them about a legendary guitar pick that supposedly helped make legends out of struggling musicians.  The pick now resides in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  So J.B. and K.G. set out on a quest to acquire the pick, and follow in the footsteps of their rock heroes.

 While I'm sure this could've been one of those genius comedies in the vein of THIS IS SPINAL TAP, the film is instead quite similar to goofball slapstick like BILL AND TED'S MOST EXCELLENT ADVENTURE or even HALF BAKED, only nowhere near as effective.  The jokes here are surprisingly amateurish and all too familiar to be truly funny.  It feels like two guys just making a comedy that they think is hilarious.  Imagine sketch comedy stretched out to 90 minutes.  Jack Black sort of abandons his well-honed acting chops here and just reverts to a Saturday Night Live-style portrayal.  Kyle Gass is almost better in the acting department, which is odd since he lacks the proper experience.  But even as a comedy team, these two never really exhibit what I'd call great chemistry.  Odd, huh?  Now the audience I saw this with was comprised of obvious Tenacious D fans, and for the most part they seemed to be loving everything they saw.  So I guess the film works for who it's targeted to.  But the average moviegoer isn't gonna get much here, and they'll probably leave wondering what all the hype is about.  The film's strongest points come with it's select musical numbers.  They work, and they're funny, but they don't make the rest of it anything memorable.  Look for some cameos from recognizable film and music personalities, such as Tim Robbins as a whacked-out creep who is obsessed with getting the pick for himself, and SNL actors like Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen.  I don't know, I just couldn't get into this, no matter how much I may have wanted to.  So if you're a fan of the "D", you may find the film somewhat entertaining, but if the band means nothing to you, chances are this movie won't either.

BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, I give THE PICK OF DESTINY a 5.


Visit the New Line Cinema's TENACIOUS D AND "THE PICK OF DESTINY" movie website by clicking here.


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