Black is certainly spewing ammo in this month of ''Rocktober,'' to use the 34-year-old's mock-hipster terminology. ''There's no escaping me,'' he grins, proud to unleash a double dose of rock & roll spirit on the populace. But will both blasts be equally powerful, as Black hopes?
Fire one is definitely a direct hit: ''School of Rock,'' a formulaic, high-concept studio comedy that Black, along with screenwriter Mike White (''Chuck & Buck,'' ''The Good Girl'') and director Richard Linklater (''Dazed and Confused,'' ''Waking Life''), has given a deliciously unformulaic spin. The bull's-eye is both financial -- a $20 million No. 1 opening -- and critical, with praise nearly unanimous for Black's performance as a plugged-in Peter Pan. In the movie, Black -- previously known for his crazed-frat-boy roles in ''High Fidelity'' and ''Shallow Hal'' -- plays Dewey Finn, a wannabe lead guitarist and singer who gets kicked out of his own band, then scams his way into a substitute-teaching job to pay the bills. He thereupon transforms a class of prep-school fifth graders into a rocking ensemble and leads them to a hardcore Battle of the Bands competition against grown-up contenders.