Rock 'n' Roll Road Trip
Sometimes a film comes along that's simply unreviewable, incapable of being looked at under a movie critic's usual microscope. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is one of these flicks, and no amount of analysis can explain why this is one of the most flat-out fun movies in years -- but I'll try.
For the uninitiated, let me introduce the cult phenomenon known affectionately as "The D." Tenacious D is a hard-rockin' band comprised of maniacal lead vocalist Jack Black (yup, Nacho Libre himself) and balding guitar wizard Kyle Gass. The dudes play themselves (in the same way John Malkovich played "himself" in Being John Malkovich) in The Pick of Destiny, an extremely insane and exaggerated account of how they became the greatest band on Earth (to them, at least).
Both struggling musicians in Hollywood, JB and KG combined forces and, after discovering a shared birthmark on their behinds, realized that it was their destiny to be the most rockin' guys in the world. However, in order to jump-start their careers and find a way to pay off the rent, The D decide that they must track down what will result in their one-way ticket to fame: the Pick of Destiny, a guitar pick -- made from one of Satan's own chipped teeth -- that turns whoever wields it into a veritable guitar god. The problem? The PoD is locked inside the Museum of Rock & Roll History, and our intrepid musician heroes will have to embark on an epic quest littered with threatening strangers, sorority girls, and a cameo by none other than Sasquatch himself if they want it.
There's no two ways about it: you'll either go with The Pick of Destiny's flow or you'll stand to the side befuddled at what all these crazy kids are laughing at. This movie is unabashedly profane, silly, juvenile, and over-the-top, and it's all the better for it. Free of any traces of pretension, it delivers 90 downright insane minutes of some of the goofiest stuff ever thought up for the screen -- and somehow, the cinema gods blessed The D with their presence and made just about everything they cook up stick to the wall.
From drug-fueled encounters with mythical monsters to a "rock-off" showdown with the Devil himself that would make Charlie Daniels proud, The Pick of Destiny keeps the completely random gags coming at a fast and furious pace accompanied by an off-kilter soundtrack that's pretty dang good. The performance numbers are definitely the highlights of the film, including the "Master Exploder" set that blew my mind to the aforementioned Mephistopheles confrontation, appropriately titled "Beezleboss." And then there's JB and KG themselves, a pair of righteous rockers whose quest for the PoD comes across like what would happen if Pee-Wee's Big Adventure dropped acid in the middle of Ozzfest.
Sure, even I have to admit, the movie wears thin a few times. But when a good chunk of big-studio comedies fall flat on their faces by resorting to forced slapstick or moronic gags and calling it humor, you just gotta sit back and admire the whacked-out genius of a film that brings together Satan, Bigfoot, a cameo by Meat Loaf, and the world's most original (not to mention hilariously painful) way to deactivate a burglar alarm.
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny may not be The Blues Brothers, but it's definitely a lot better than Blues Brothers 2000.
MY RATING: *** 1/2 (out of ****)
(Released by New Line Cinema and rated "R" for pervasive language, sexual content and drug use.)