Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny didn’t rock hard enough. I don’t know if the problem was my own high expectations or the sheer logistics of turning three minute songs into a 90 minute feature. Whatever the issue is I can say that while fans of the D won’t be upset no new fans will join the fold either. The film is only a smidge above average, and that’s coming from a big-time Tenacious D fan. Curses!
Tenacious D is the dramatic interpretation of Jack Black and Kyle Gass’ rise to power through their band, the appropriately named Tenacious D. The band is a comedic send-up of hard rock but they also manage to rock hard too. They aren’t a folk group, and they pay as much homage to groups like Van Halen as they do mock them with hilarious lyrics. I don’t have a sense of how many D fans are out there but I know their first album brought me many hours of joy. Jack Black was in plenty of films before the D but the band’s popularity certainly couldn’t have hurt his transition to comedic (School of Rock) and finally leading man (King Kong) status.
Back to the film itself. We’ve covered that it’s the journey of the D. The closest parallel film I can think of is Wayne’s World although clearly Tenacious D is updated with a fresh new level of vulgarity. The movie is very strong during the musical moments, and the opening with Meatloaf as Jack Black’s dad is sweet. The film falters when the music stops and Jack Black and Kyle Gass turn to the script for laughs. They aren’t plentiful, and they aren’t big enough either. I think the band’s musical genius may be the result of many hours hanging out together under the effect of various illicit substances and I don’t know that there is a writing equivalent to that. Being funny in verse is far different from being funny on the page and it looks like Black and Gass learned that lesson the hard way. The hard edge that the music has can’t sustain the merely adequate punchlines in the 90 minute running time. An exception to this comes in the form of JB throwing his amazing trademark facial contortions. Pain, pleasure, whatever the expression, Black does it up right.
Should you see this? If you’re a fan of the band it’s a no-brainer. It’s been five years since we’ve heard from them and if you’re anything like me you’ve been feening ever since. If you’re not a D follower but want a decent comedy for a Friday night then I’d say go for it. If you’re not a fan of cursing, copious drug use or silly songsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ well, you’d be better off not getting heavily offended for your ten bucks. Lastly, a note to Jables, if you ever make a D movie again I want you to do nothing less than rock my fucking socks off man.