Miss Potter

Starring Jack Black and Kyle Glass. Directed by Liam Lynch.
Running Time: 94 mins.
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (strong coarse language, strong sexual references, drug use),
Listening to the dialogue (or blocking it out as needs be), one wonders why the film was not called Tenacious F!

If you are with it, you will know that Tenacious D is a musical group with Jack Black and Kyle Gass. They have performed since the mid-90s, recorded quite a number of songs, done a television series of comic short programs and developed quite a name for themselves for irreverent satire and 'attitude'.

Audiences who delight in and identify with cultural rebels with 'attitude' will relish the transition to the big screen (although some reviewers in the know have complained about various songs being left out and some of the comedy routines from the past).

Audiences not in the know may not be all that much wiser by the end of the film. They will realise that they have been watching two eccentric comedians doing their irreverent shtick, with more than touch of bodily function crassness and inhaling pot with literal grass roots results. The jokes and routines are a very mixed bag, a mixture of some hilarious bits, some corny bits, some crass bits and some really gross bits.

Since Jack Black has become a screen presence in the last six years or so, it is interesting to see him go back to his early career. He still has that devilish knowing-innocent look, a shrewd manipulator of his audience with some great timing and satire.

Oh, the pick of destiny? This is the complicated sub-plot (sub-pot!) to the story of the formation of Tenacious D and their ambitions. It involves a legend where the devil lost a tooth that became, through the centuries, the pick that galvanised the careers of Mozart and Mick Jagger amongst others (all of whom can be glimpsed in a visit to the Rock and Roll Museum). But, the devil wants his tooth back and deceives Tenacious D who have to learn to have faith in themselves (which is rather sweet and inspirational rather than promoting 'attitude').

A lot of music stars and actors pop in and out including Tim Robbins and a very effective turn by Ben Stiller who tells the tale of the pick of destiny. Actually, this may make it sound better than it really is.

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.