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Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
Director: Liam Lynch


Tenacious D — the usually trusty combination of Jack Black and Kyle Gass —
have taken the tale of their rise to rock stardom to the big screen. Hardly the first
appearance for either in the movies,
The Pick of Destiny has a special
designation for each of them: it’s easily the worst thing either has ever been
involved with. And remember, Black played a rastafarian in
I Still Know What You
Did Last Summer.

Tenacious D have made their bread and butter by combining a genuine love of
rock with real talent and the sense of humor and irony to send up their heroes —
Dio, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, etc. — in a fun, twisted, engaging package. Their debut,
Tenacious D, is one of the funniest albums ever commited to plastic. Songs like
“Double Team” are so visionary, graphic and stupid that they commit themselves
to genius. The stage presence, the writing and the musical chops all combine into
the best rock spoof this side of Spinal Tap.

But the humor lies in the spoofing of excess. Where that collapses is the point
where the send up is just as self-involved and humorless as the mistakes of their
heroes. Watching
The Pick of Destiny is no different than watching Styx walk
around like immigrants on a robot planet during a stage rendition of
Kilroy. It’s
akin to taking in Scorpions with the full backing of the Berlin Philharmoic
Orchestra. It’s not just stupid, it’s painful.

Starting slowly and tumbling from there, you learn that Black ran away from home
to Hollywood in search of his rock destiny. Meeting up with Kyle Gass, who trains
Black, the two embark on a series of dumb and dumber missions. The highlights
come during the cameos — Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins and Amy Poehler, to name
three — where the action seems to pick up and the plot seems to go somewhere.
But what makes this so awful is that the let down that follows the subsequent non-
action makes the movie drag.

The biggest knock on the film is the songs. A strong set of funny tunes would have
salvaged this. But from the opening “Kickapoo,” nothing stands out apart from the
extremely weak plot. Only “Master Destroyer” earns a chuckle or two, but nothing
on par with the laughs that “Wonderboy” produced five years ago.

The Pick of Destiny is just a long, painful film. Stupid can be funny when its clever,
but stupid as just stupid is, well, stupid. Characters come and go, Black and Gass
drift from scene to scene, and nothing stands out above the din.

And then, almost without relief, it ends. It just ends. There’s something of a
conclusion, but nothing satisfying. Plot holes in funny movies are forgivable, but
holes in comedy flops can steal two hours from your evening.

The Pick of Destiny, Tenacious D follow in the steps of many of their heroes —
they create a full-fledged flop. There’s nothing redeeming to be found within it, and
in a few years the entire project will be disowned by everyone involved. And the
worlds of film and rock will be better for it.
E-mail Nick Tavares at
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