Part of the enormous fun in watching Jack Black and Kyle Gass play the ludicrous rock duo Tenacious D is observing their pleasure in the roles. They're intoxicated with delight at being onstage, living out every air-guitar virtuoso's dream of being a mike-melting heavy metal god. They're not in it for fame, perks or groupies.
What drives them is the sheer jubilation of pinning the audience's ears back with music louder, faster and tastier than the world has ever known, even if their fan base is 12 people in a bar. They're superstars in their own minds and nothing else matters.
Black and Gass have been performing as the D for 15 years live and on TV, to loud cult acclaim. Their smartly written movie debut is as slick as you'd expect with all that preparation, and director Liam Lynch wisely opens up the story to newcomers unversed in the lore of the D.
"Pick" is a sort of rock opera concept album on film, giving us the band's origins in character songs and loopy comic vignettes, beginning with young JB's rocking rebellion against his overbearing dad. The casting is spot on, with Meat Loaf as the belt-snapping born-again buzzkill. The plot pings along energetically, and if it rarely makes much sense, it usually finds the shortest distance between two jokes. Like a dumb but infectious rock song, you can't really justify loving the movie for any serious reason. It just gets under your skin and makes you happy, and that's all the explanation it needs.