It might be an understatement to say that Jack Black is truly a jack of all trades. Of late his profile has been raised in the various high profile movies he's starring in, ranging from his own comedies like Nacho Libre, which I thought suffered from its own over-hype unfortunately, to blockbusters like King Kong for him to flex some dramatic muscles. I still remember the smaller supporting roles he played in movies like High Fidelity, and now he's probably in the bigger league, having the ability to open a movie with just his name on the marquee.
Tenacious D however, is not a one-man show. It's actually a Jack Black-Kyle Gass vehicle in which they play two absurd rockers conveniently called JB and KG. They're dreaming of the day of making it big in the rock scene, with cash and chicks in their sex, drugs, rock and roll lifestyle. But until then, they have to content with paying the bills, and performing in open mic sessions of smaller joints. And of course, not having sufficient talent to come up with a hit, works against them, though they manage to snag one die hard fan along the way.
Making its jump from TV (was an HBO series), Tenacious D doesn't need you to learn up its history in order to enjoy it, as it begins with a fair bit of background story of how these two friends, with a passion for rock, meet and develop their friendship and partnership in showbiz. In his movie, they're on a quest to seek the legendary Pick of Destiny, which almost every who's who in the annals of rock history is observed to be using, rumoured to be a part of Satan (ok, all you folks who associate loud music with the devil will probably rejoice at his point).
And to humour these folks, JB and KG are your expected foul mouthed characters who pepper their lyrics with bawdy sex lines and vulgarities, which, in my opinion, totally rocks, spoofing the genre of music to a T. To truly enjoy the movie, you'd have to pay close attention to the lyrics and the dialogues between the characters, though some might add that it's a bit of an overkill having almost every line punctuated with Fs or Cs. Laughs are also milked from physical action, with inane bits like the Power Hugs and the Power Slide, which is touted as THE arsenal in any bona fide rock star.
The other highlight of Tenacious D are the hilarious cameo appearances from folks like Tim Robbins, John C Reilly, Ben Stiller (woohoo!) and even Meat Loaf, for some rock cred. Their characters, some unrecognizable until you do a second take, add plenty of colour to this wacky fantastical film.
But Tenacious D blew hot and cold, and there will be points in time where you will just cringe at the delivery, or simply be unimpressed by the predictable ho-hum plot. It's almost as if Bill and Ted had put on loads of weight, and have recycled their excellent adventures into something with a rock element, and replacing Death with Satan himself. Satan here is done in awesome crimson red, much like Hellboy, horns and all, but with plenty more devilish attitude to boot. And yes, Jack Black can sing, really. A genuine performer if you ask me.
If you're someone with a holier than thou attitude, steer real clear from this movie. It's so offensive that those who cannot stand the slightest murmur of insanely vulgar dialogue or set action sequence, will probably suffer from a bad fit. Stay tuned until after the end credits for a scene between JB and KG, where they try to conjure yet another masterpiece in front of their tape recorder.