Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Nurse (Willow Geer): Doctor! Doctor!
Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly): I'm so cold.
Doctor (David Doty): We need more blankets.
Nurse: We need more blankets!
Nurse: Doctor!
Dewey Cox: I'm so hot!
Nurse: I think he has too many blankets.
Doctor: Fewer blankets!
Dewey Cox: I'm hot and cold at the same time!
Nurse: He needs more blankets and he needs less blankets.
Doctor: I'm afraid you're right.

At a glance: This mockumentary about a fictional Johnny Cash-like musician has high production values and some good quality music, but the jokes are a little thin

In the world of the ‘mockumentary’ (Mock Rock Documentary), This Is Spinal Tap set the bar very high. Walk Hard attempts to compete (in my psyche, anyway) with the great Tap, and comes up a little short. Sure there are great songs and period attire as we follow Dewey Cox’s musical career and personal life from the 50s to the present, but not much of it is laugh-out-loud funny. Dewey (John C Reilly) does do one hilarious duet with Darlene (Jenna Fischer) (called Let’s Duet) where the double entendres slip out due to pauses. But for an unusually long 2 hour comedy, the jokes are few and far between. Too much time is spent trying to lend believability to the story of a very Johnny Cash-like country singer who rips the nearest sink out of the wall whenever he gets upset. I’m not sure if this movie doesn’t work because the script isn’t funny enough, or because John C. Reilly, a talented supporting player, does not have the screen presence for such a demanding role. Or it could simply be that I’m not Judd Apatow’s number one admirer. Rating: 2.25 of 4

"Walk Hard runs down quickly, and suffers further from having the wide-eyed and weightless Reilly as its star."
- David Denby (New Yorker)

"This burlesque of biopic cliches flounders from one setup to the next without the engine that drives the genre: a strong central character."
- Jim Ridley (Village Voice)

"The one area where ‘Walk Hard’ does manage to hold its own against classics of the genre such as ‘This is Spinal Tap’ or ‘Sweet and Lowdown’ is the music, all of which is expertly written and performed."
- David Jenkins (Time Out)

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