Jack Black and Kyle Gass have had a career as the world’s most awesome rock band, Tenacious D, since their pretty damn funny but short-lived series on HBO. That series, and a 2001 album, have garnered them a loyal following of fanboys and fangirls who like their twisted, sexually explicit, and wonderfully disgusting humor. Their movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, attempts to introduce their comedic, but actually solid, musical talents to a broader audience.
The film is split in two halves. The first half chronicles the meeting of JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) and the formation of Tenacious D. Once the band is assembled and ready to rock our socks off, the second half of the movie has the pair traveling Abbott and Costello style to the Rock and Roll Museum (that’s right, Museum) in search of the single guitar pick that all the greatest rockers (Dude! Eddie Van Halen!) have used to get their careers headed directly into the pants of hot babes. The fact the pick was forged from one of Satan’s own front teeth can only lead to mayhem and hijinx.
The Pick of Destiny tries to recreate the best bits from the HBO series. Fans will be left scratching their heads wondering why a comedy team would steal from themselves. Their biggest fan ever, Lee, flits in and out of the movie with as much a sense of necessity as a pickle spear leaning against a Chevy. A song from Tenacious D’s first album, “Kyle Quit the Band,” is re-crafted and made less funny and less comically poignant in the movie as a song titled “Dude (I Totally Miss You)”. None of their old material was made better by a bigger budget or more time to flesh out their ideas. This is doubly unfortunate since the new material gets less play because the old material is taking up much needed space.
The movie does have its moments, and there are enough solid one-liners to keep you smiling from scene to scene. Pick of Destiny works best when it is a rock opera, and is punctuated by fantastic, belted out cameos by Meatloaf and Ronnie James Dio. Sadly, it is not a rock opera often enough. It is also a mystery as to why Tenacious D pulls so many punches. Instead of the outrageous ten-minute skits from the HBO series, we are left with a string of sketches that don’t add up to much, mostly because Black and Gass appear frightened to push the boundaries of their R rating. In theatres where JB and KG are fighting for screen time with the likes of Borat, you’ll be left asking for a bit more social commentary than farting and pot smoking.
There is a scene tacked on to the end of the credits (much like this sentence dangles from this review) that is an absolute must-see if you are twelve years old and mildly retarded.
Written by Jamon Y. Huevos