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.
+ Tim Meadows, who was by far the funniest person on screen.
+ 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.
- 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.
- 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.