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USA 2007
Directed by
Jake Kasdan
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

The first 30 minutes of Walk Hard which lampoons the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line in particular and pop music biopics in general is as funny as you could ask for.  Once it moves beyond that reference point however it strains to amuse, deteriorating into a series of mostly lame potshots at some well-known highs and lows of pop music in the second half of the 20th century.

John C. Reilly plays Dewey Cox a wannabe music  star from the deep South, scarred by a childhood tragedy in the late 1950s. He marries young (at the age of fifteen to be precise and to twelve-year old Edith, played by an amusing Kristen Wiig), hits the big-time with a Johnny Cash-style record, gets rich, does drugs, goes to rehab, leaves his wife for his singing partner Darlene (Jenna Fischer) and struggles to stay relevant to the rapidly changing music industry.

Co-writers Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan have a lot of fun putting together an absurdist makeover of the clichés of the genre. The sweep of the story however is too broad and, frankly too silly, to be sustainable as Dewey morphs into a Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, David Bowie and so on sound-alike, eventually being sampled by rappers and inducted into the Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame. 

Reilly gives a surprisingly endearing performance as well as doing all his own singing (unfortunately the title song is the only really clever one) but like the jokes, the best of him is in those first 30 minutes.




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