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Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

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Trailer for "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny"

A little Jack Black goes a long way, and what you get in Tenacious D is a lot of Jack. Coming in a year that has already provided a Black overload in the form of Nacho Libre, that may be more than the average moviegoer really requires. But then, this is a movie with a built-in audience. Tenacious D is a two-man rock group comprised of Black, who sings in the pseudo-operatic style of the young Meat Loaf and plays guitar, and Kyle Gass, who looks like Divine’s mild-mannered younger brother and who also plays guitar (quite well, too). The two met at comedy workshops, and the extent to which their performances are a put-on or a celebration is open to debate. (I would say that they’re entirely a put-on, but having spent an unusually inert evening watching three hours of a VH1 special on the history of metal music, I am more than ever persuaded that metal fans don’t actually have much of a sense of humor, at least not about themselves.) The D, as they like to be known (avoiding the question of what the rest of their name means) sing almost exclusively about the majesty of Rock, which is not to be confused with mere rock and certainly not rock and roll. They vary from such cinematic predecessors as Bill, Ted, Wayne, Garth, Beavis or Butt-head less in the size of their IQs (probably under three digits collectively) than in the size of their guts. The duo they most resemble is Jake and Elwood Blues, who in John Landis’ The Blues Brothers set themselves on a literally religio-mystical quest in the name of music. (Given Black’s position as the apparent reincarnation of John Belushi, that may not be an accidental comparison.) If you feel that the mine of rock’s—excuse me, Rock’s—penchant for self-mythologizing has already been exhausted, you’ll probably have no need for this creation story, which retreads (albeit energetically) jokes on the subject so insistently that I left the screening after an hour. But if you’re already a fan of the D—well, then you’re probably not even reading this in the first place.