A surprise 2003 hit with both moviegoers and critics, "School of Rock" has made its way to home video.

"School of Rock" (Paramount, 2003, PG-13, $29.99). A self-absorbed musician is kicked out of his band, and he's so desperate for money that he takes a job as a substitute teacher.

Of course, he's not qualified to be a substitute and has no clue about the curriculum. So instead he teaches the kids what he knows, how to play music, and the climax is a battle-of-the-bands contest.

This vehicle for Jack Black is a funny variation on some retread themes, but it gets a lift from Black's manic performance and slightly sleazy charm and the delightful Joan Cusack as the uptight principal. The film also benefits from the kids, who were musicians, not actors, but whose characterizations are fully realized and utterly charming. The music's not bad either. And the film is surprisingly family-friendly most of the way (though some of the DVD's bonus features are a bit more risque than the film itself).

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Extras: Separate widescreen and full-frame editions, audio commentaries, making-of featurettes, music video, Toronto Film Festival premiere, MTV diary, interactive game, trailer, etc.

"Just One of the Guys" (Columbia, 1986, PG-13, $24.96). A girl who is getting ready to graduate from high school masquerades as a boy in a neighboring school to prove that sexism is the reason she's been rejected as a contender for a journalism internship. Joyce Hyser (whatever happened to her?) is an appealing actress whose performance here is quite good, and the film has some nice moments, including the ultimate message. But the casual-sex subplots that abound are quite off-putting — especially those involving her sex-obsessed younger brother — with language and nudity that puts the film in R-rated territory. (A pre-"Twin Peaks" Sherilyn Fenn shows up as a girl attracted to Hyser's male alter-ego.)

Extras: Full frame, etc.


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com

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