Monday, October 12, 2015

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - 2007

"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" - 2007
Dir. by Jake Kasdan - 1 hr. 36 min.


by Clayton Hollifield

There's a lot of good material in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," but boy did it feel fresher on the heels of "Walk the Line."  That's pretty fitting, because "Walk Hard" borrows a lot (and I mean a LOT) of plot points from Johnny Cash's life (and the rest from Ray Charles' life, which was the big music movie that preceded "Walk the Line"), and he was kind of a big deal.  But it's also a very silly, very fun romp through all the rock 'n' roll cliches that we're all familiar with.  It's just that the childhood trauma that haunts Dewey is that he accidentally halved his brother while play-fighting with machetes.


Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) is Johnny Cash a rock singer who came to prominence in the 1950s, with his hit "Walk Hard."  Through his career, he hits every imaginable speed bump from "Behind the Music," from bigamy to drug abuse to losing his sense of smell.  He meets his first wife, Edith (Kristen Wiig) when he's 14 and she's 12, and they leave home to chase Dewey's dream.  And then there's a second wife, Darlene (Jenna Fischer), and she's a little more permanent.  And basically, we work through the decades of Dewey's life until a late-career resurgence brings him back into the spotlight.

Any discussion of the positives of "Walk Hard" have to begin with the cast.  John C. Reilly is funny.  Make that really funny.  He's such a goof that you kind of look forward to things falling apart over and over again so that his character will take his frustrations out on a sink somewhere.  Both of Dewey's wives have found deserved success in the near-decade since this movie came out.  The ghost of Dewey's brother is played by Jonah Hill.  His band is comprised of Matt Besser (Upright Citizen's Brigade), Chris Parnell, and Tim Meadows.  Even a one-off joke has Elvis Presley played by a hyper-active, karate-enthused, mumble-mouthed Jack White.  The Beatles are played by Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Justin Long, and Jason Schwartzman. The cameo characters are played by people like Jane Lynch, Harold Ramis, and Craig Robinson.  So the main thing to know is that if you've enjoyed pretty much any comedy movie in the last decade, you're going to recognize a lot of faces.

Secondly, the movie zips along.  Part of the appeal of "Walk Hard" is that it's a comedy trip through rock 'n' roll, and since we're all pretty familiar with the tropes, there's not much need to establish jokes.  We're on the same page before they even start talking, so the jokes come quickly, and the scenes don't overstay their welcome.  The running gags are good, too, like Dewey's aforementioned targeting of sinks whenever things go awry, and Tim Meadows' "you don't want any of this shit" refrains.

Smoking reefers

On the whole, I enjoyed "Walk Hard."  I enjoyed it when I watched it when it came out, and I enjoyed it this time, too.  I don't have any real complaints about it; this movie is fun and quickly-paced.  It doesn't aim very high, which probably keeps it from being great, but it's still really funny (particularly if you're versed in rock lore), and you'll see a ton of people you'll likely recognize.  So go ahead, give it a whirl when you're bored and want some laughs.

3 / 5 - Blu-Ray

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