WARNING: This Article May Contain Spoilers
Now, I’m not going to pretend that writing this article was easy because unlike others that have been discussed, Jack Black seems to stick to one specific genre of film – comedy. I have to admit, this also features a lot in his music with his band Tenacious D. I don’t want to say he’s one dimensional but I think what is about to follow may speaks for itself. I have a little confession to make, it was actually quite hard to find films where he doesn’t sing but honestly in the end the aim of this article is more to prove myself wrong and that he can do more than comedy.
For what many would possibly consider as a children’s film, owing to the fact the Goosebumps books were horror stories for children – I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t a little creeped out by Slappy the ventriloquist doll. Moving on, I think I owe Jack Black a little bit of an apology because for a dark comedy – he actually plays his role surprisingly straight. The only thing that bothers me, is the really strange accent he decides to put on as R.L Stein. Truthfully, you can’t tell if it’s right or wrong from the tiny cameo Stein actually has in the film but it’s weird nonetheless.
First of all, if you aren’t a fan of films breaking the 4th wall, then this really is not the film for you. I’ll be honest, Jack’s role in this film is not massive but he does seem to be able to play an arsehole really well – which makes you wonder if that’s actually a reflection of his character. Now, as those of you reading this will know (if you’ve read Chick-Flick Free Valentine’s Day that is), I am not a fan of romantic comedies but this one actually isn’t that bad. It might be because this is more of what can be considered as a ‘black’ comedy.
Again, this really is not my type of film. However, I’ll admit that this wasn’t exactly what I expected because it doesn’t completely focus on what I consider the soppiness of love. It focuses a lot more on the development of the two female characters and what they discover about themselves when they switch homes for two weeks. What’s actually intriguing about this film is that the love interest for Iris could have been someone just as flawlessly good looking as Jude Law but they chose an actor of quite average looks in Jack Black. By the way, that is not a criticism – I actually think it was a good decision but genuinely it’s not a role I would ever have considered him taking on. I’ll admit that his role isn’t massive (even for a 2hr film) but I think this is because we focus a lot more on Amanda and Graham’s story than Iris’.
Some may say that I’ve been a little harsh on Black with this article – especially as he does feature as a leading role in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. However, this is the only truly straight role I have known him to play. Yes, the role I’ve discussed above in High Fidelity comes close but it isn’t a 100% straight role. OK, he has what comes across as a bit part in An Unexpected Race in 2018. I say this because when someone is just credited as ‘Sheriff’ on IMDb, it doesn’t say starring role. Most of the time his lead roles are in comedies like Tropic Thunder and Shallow Hal. It’s a shame to say that even though I love some of his music, I’m not a massive fan of his acting. To the important question; have I proved to myself that Jack Black can do more than comedy? I’m still not sure.