Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Two years ago Tenacious D rocked the Comic-Con with a live concert in Hall H. This past July, they provided a sneak peak of their feature film that brought down the house. But can their brand of humor and music sustain a whole movie? Find out withTenacious D and the Pick of Destiny
(opening November 22 throughout San Diego).
The poster from Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny
At this summers Comic-Con, Jack Black and Kyle Gass (the duo that makes up Tenacious D) provided a videotaped introduction to clips from their first feature film, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. They unspooled ten minutes of riotous footage done in the rock opera style of The Whos Tommy . The clip featured a youngster who was a pre-adolescent dead ringer for Jack Black, and Meatloaf as the young boys religious father. The youngsters rebellion plays out in a mini-rock opera that also featured a cameo by Ronnie James Dio. But the clip made me wonder if Tenacious D could possibly sustain such a high level of humor and ingenuity throughout an entire movie.
The clip, as it turns out, is the opening of Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny , and it is a hard thing for the film to top. The film opens with young JB (Troy Gentile) fleeing his oppressive dad and making his way to Hollywood. Now the adult JB (played by Jack Black) hooks up with a Venice Beach slacker named KG (Kyle Gass). The unlikely duo form a friendship and partnership, and they vow to become the worlds greatest band. But first they have to win a local bar contest to pay the rent. But as they set about practicing, they realize that all the best rockers in history have used the same guitar picka diabolical item known as the pick of destiny and guaranteed to bring success to the user. But in order to get their hands on it theyll have to break into the Rock n Roll museum and the have a show down with none other than Lucifer.
Like Borat, Pick of Destiny relies on low humor to fuel its comic antics. But unlike Sacha Baron Cohens Kazakhstan impersonator, the lads of Tenacious D are not in the least mean-spirited. Whats surprising in Pick of Destiny is that even when they make fun of peoplelike the security guards at the museum who are stoked to finally have to draw their weaponsthey make them oddly likable too. Most of the comedy is at their own expense, pointing out how stupid or inept they are. Theyre cool because they dont really seem to care what anybody thinks. Their comedy reflects a pot smokers sense of laidback comedy and pacing. So just kick back, relax and enjoy. Or not.
Kyle Gass and Jack Black are Tenacious D
The film fails to sustain a high level of comedy but it definitely hits a few high notes. In addition to the kick ass open, theres a great scene on the Venice boardwalk when JB improvises to KGs classical licks, and then theres a final duel with the devil. The film also serves up a Mission Impossible spoof involving lasers and an unlikely part of Blacks anatomy.
Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (rated R for language, drug use and crude humor), written by black and Gass and directed by Liam Lynch, will never be mistaken for great filmmaking. But it definitely has moments when it rocks.
Companion viewing: School of Rock, Crossroads, Phantom of the Paradise