Posted at 4:36 PM on March 3, 2008
by Euan Kerr
By a quirk of fate I have watched two Jack Black movies in recent days. There was "Be Kind Rewind" and "Margot at the Wedding" which I pulled in because it was a finalist for an Independent Spirit Award.
There is a school of thought which holds Mr Black to be a comic genius, and another which sees him as a comedic one-string fiddle. I started off in the former camp after seeing him in "High Fidelity," but migrated to the latter after seeing him in "School of Rock" and on Saturday Night Live.
Yet after seeing "Margot" I believe there is hope for Jack. He plays Malcolm, the impending groom for the titular wedding. He finds himself caught in the crossfire between his fiancee Pauline (Jennifer Jason Lee) and her sister Margot (Nicole Kidman,) a successful writer. The women are both pleased and horrified by their dependence on each other and Malcolm has to deal with this tension, while also wrestling with his own issues about getting married.
It's a tribute to writer/director Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale") that he draws out a remarkably understated performance from Black, who makes Malcolm a figure of sympathy despite his faults (which turn out to be many.)
So, is the world ready for a serious Jack Black-in-the-lead drama? Is Jack Black ready for a serious Jack Black drama? It'll be a while, but I'll admit that I'd like to see it.
There was a time when Jim Carrey was 'a comedic one-string fiddle' as well. Who would have thought the guy from Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber could do Truman or that movie about erasing your memory?