Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story(2008)
Life made him tough. Love made him strong. Music made him hard.
A spoof of every music film from The Doors to Walk The Line, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Anchorman) brings us the story of Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), a struggling blues musician who makes it big, has troubles with the missus, ignores his kids, goes on a spiritual journey with the Beatles, and does all the stuff that guitar-strumming heroes usually do. The star-studded comedy features Jack White (The White Stripes) as Elvis Presley, Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr and Paul Rudd as John Lennon.
BY Flicks Writer
While there’s a complement of elbow-to-the-gut referentiality, it’s fleeting. Luckily: referential humour may be the lasting influence of comedy gold from Blazing Saddles to The Simpsons, but it’s also the stock-in-trade of hacks from les freres Wayans to Meet the Spartans.
Walk Hard is on much steadier ground when its target is wide: hagiographical biopics en masse are far more skilfully lampooned than any particular pic. (Yes, Reilly-parodying-Phoenix-impersonating-Cash is that rare simulacrum that surpasses the quality of its target – but to dwell would be smug).
When a scene is obligatory the movie has the good sense to play it as such, but with class. It’s the inversion of the spoof-movie norm: bad parodies play serious lines for laughs, where Walk Hard plays sly meta-comedy like it’s serious drama. This winking respect for trope may be what qualifies it for inclusion alongside, say, Flying High! rather than consignment to the pile alongside, say, Epic Movie.
It never reaches the giddy pathos of A Mighty Wind, and in the final analysis, it’s basically a hundred-minute riff on the episode of The Simpsons where Homer had a barbershop quartet and he met George Harrison.
But to remain funny, and quotable, and not without warmth or quality showmanship, all while borrowing a premise from the show that set the high-water mark for most all of those things? A fella could do worse.
The Peoples' Reviews
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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
This is funny, a few times laugh out loud. And John C. Reilly is real likeable.
But spoofs are boring. I reckon this would be better if they ditched all the homage/spoof stuff and just made a comedy about a musician. I find the spoof aspect predictable. The film ends in an annoyingly sappy way also.
But considering all that, pretty good.