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Originally published Wednesday, November 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

Sympathy for the devil: Rockers seek Satan's pick

The celebrated musical duo known as Tenacious D makes its long-awaited movie debut with "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," a daft, often...

Special to The Seattle Times

The celebrated musical duo known as Tenacious D makes its long-awaited movie debut with "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," a daft, often uproarious rock opera that may become a cult favorite.

Half of the band will be familiar to many. He is Jack Black — identified here as JB — playing a version of himself that is largely the same character he windmill-strummed so pitch-perfectly in "School of Rock." That movie hinged on his heartfelt devotion to classic rock idols; this one sends him stage-diving into their ranks, telling the tale of the D's origin and self-proclaimed quest to become "the greatest band on Earth."

Based on the zany, substance-fueled antics of JB and his partner, KG (Kyle Gass), it's easy to laugh oneself into believing there wasn't a whole lot of fictionalizing involved. Until the blazing grand-finale face-off between Tenacious D and Satan (the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl), that is.

Opens today

Movie review 3 stars

Showtimes and trailer

"Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," with Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Jason Reed, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Meat Loaf. Directed by Liam Lynch, from a screenplay by Black, Gass and Lynch. 93 minutes. Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content and drug use. Several theaters.

As the legend goes, JB left home a long-haired child with nothing but a faded AC/DC T-shirt and grungy guitar strapped to his back. The anecdote is blocked out in a hilarious opening sequence straight out of "Tommy." Meat Loaf plays JB's Bible-thumping father belting out expository musical dialogue in tandem with the already stage-struck young JB (Troy Gentile doing the same flawless impersonation of Black he did in "Nacho Libre").

JB's journey takes him to Venice Beach, where he falls under the spell of a busking, wig-wearing KG. JB soon finds himself a pupil in an altogether different school of rock, sleeping on KG's floor, packing bong loads and practicing power knee-slides for his new master.

A few misunderstandings later, and with the help of mysterious clues from Rolling Stone magazine and a stoned ex-roadie (Ben Stiller), the band is off in pursuit of the guitar accessory of the title. The pick was fashioned from one of Satan's teeth, and JB is convinced its use is the only way for the D to attain their destiny as rock gods.

Whether open-mike night at a local bar is the appropriate avenue to rock 'n' roll immortality is entirely beside the point. What's important is the chase, which includes KG's embarrassment at a sexy sorority party and JB's magic-mushroom-enhanced encounter with Sasquatch. All this and more is set to the D's signature head-wagging anthems.

The destiny of entertainment and laughs is assured right here.

Ted Fry:

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