December 23, 2007

REVIEW: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (C+)

Background: Writer/Director/Producer/Hollywood darling Judd Apatow (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) squeezes one last film into 2007 with Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a spoof of the recent musical biopics Ray and Walk the Line. Directed and co-written by Jake Kasdan (The TV Set, "Freaks and Geeks"), it stars John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights, Chicago), Jenna Fischer (TV's "The Office"), and a crowd of other familiar faces. I'm not sure, but based on what I know of his talents, John C. Reilly probably did all of the actual singing and even guitar playing in the movie.

Synopsis: Young Dewey Cox accidentally cuts his brother in half with a machete. Disowned by his father and newly aware of his ability to play the blues, Dewey (Reilly) sets off on a lifelong musical career. He follows the traditional arc: determination and luck gives him his big break, his marriage suffers to the temptations of the road, he has a tumultuous romance with a new woman (Fischer), he goes in and out of drug rehab, he alienates all of his band members, and he has a reawakening and redemption.

I Loved:
+ Tim Meadows, who was by far the funniest person on screen.

I Liked:
+ The spoofed bits of the biopics, as unoriginal as they may have been.
+ The bizarre cameos by everybody from Jack White to Frankie Muniz to Eddie Vedder. Weird, but memorable.
+ Paul Rudd and Justin Long as John Lennon and George Harrison, respectively.

I Disliked:
- John C. Reilly. I did. Since when is he supposed to be a comedic genius?
- Jack Black and Jason Schwartzman as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, respectively.

I Hated:
The stupid machete plotline, including hearing "The wrong kid died!" every 6 minutes.

Writing - 7
Acting - 8
Production - 9
Emotional Impact - 8
Music - 5
Significance - 2

Total: 39/50= 78% = C+

Last Word: Comedy kidnapped John C. Reilly! What has happened to this guy? I'm talking about Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Anniversary Party, The Good Girl, and Gangs of New York, to name just a recent few. Somebody told him should be the next Will Ferrell and he's never looked back, to my great disappointment. In fact, Walk Hard made a dramatically better movie when I simply pretended Will Ferrell was playing Dewey Cox. Sure, maybe that's his typecast role, but he does it a lot better than anyone else. Reilly's awkwardness aside, I didn't really laugh much during this movie. As I've read elsewhere and totally agree with, it was like an SNL skit that just went on way too long. You know how those are, and it didn't help to have so many SNL-style actors riding along (Jenna Fischer, Chris Parnell, Kristen Wiig, Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman, Tim Meadows, and Jonah Hill). The writing wasn't very sharp, though the spoofed bits of Walk the Line and Ray were well done. So in conclusion I was pretty disappointed, but instead of blaming just Reilly, I'll chalk this dud up to Judd Apatow trying to copy someone else's story instead of telling his own. He doesn't draw the line clearly enough between whether he's making fun or having fun, but I'm not interested enough to see it again and figure it out - especially if I have the option to see any of his other movies instead, like my personal favorite Anchorman.


  1. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 2007 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

    It was almost like a Manhattan Project for songwriters,” says Bern. “It was the most fun thing I’ve ever done.
    Dan Bern, 2007

    The cast and crew recorded 40 original songs;[2] 33 are featured in the movie.[3] Singer-songwriter Dan Bern and Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers) wrote most of the film’s songs, including “There’s a Change a Happenin’”, “Mulatto” and “Hole in My Pants”. Marshall Crenshaw wrote the title tune and Van Dyke Parks penned one of the 1960-styled psychedelic jams, “Black Sheep”.

    Track listing

    iTunes exclusive extended edition

    1. “Take My Hand”
    2. “Jump Little Children”
    3. “(Mama) You Got to Love Your Negro Man”
    4. “That’s Amore”
    5. “Walk Hard”
    6. “A Life Without You (Is No Life At All)”
    7. “(I Hate You) Big Daddy”
    8. “Walk Hard (Punk Version)”
    9. “Let’s Duet”
    10. “Darling”
    11. “Guilty As Charged”
    12. “There’s a Change A’ Happening (I Can Feel It)”
    13. “Dear Mr. President”
    14. “Hey Mr. Old Guy”
    15. “Ladies First”
    16. “The Mulatto Song”
    17. “Let Me Hold You (Little Man)”
    18. “Hole In My Pants”
    19. “Royal Jelly”
    20. “Farmer Glickstein”
    21. “Black Sheep”
    22. “Walk Hard (70’s TV Show Theme)”
    23. “Who Wants to Party”
    24. “Weeping On the Inside”
    25. “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”
    26. “Walk Hard (All-Star Version)”
    27. “Beautiful Ride”
    28. “(Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died”
    29. “Cut My Brother In Half Blues”
    30. “(You Make Me So) Hard”

  2. Thanks for the heads-up, but I'm uninterested unless one of those tracks is from Tim Meadows' scene in the bathroom.


Related Posts with Thumbnails