After viewing the depressing debacle that was I Am Legend last weekend, mr_chelledun and I needed a little pick me up. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story promised to be lighthearted, at least, if a bit stupid. Unfortunately, the movie is stupid, and for the most part not the good kind. Walk Hards impressive cast manages to pull out some laughs but for the most part, the movie is so-so at best.
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After a traumatic childhood mishap, Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) is faced with the nearly insurmountable task of being good enough for himself and his prematurely deceased brother. He sees music as his key to greatness, and makes a name for himself with the title song Walk Hard. Walk Hard is essentially a biopic spoof, which follows a trajectory almost identical to that of Walk the Line, a film it relies on heavily in terms of both jokes and plotline.
I wont front Walk Hard made me laugh out loud more than a couple of times. Whoever came up with Coxs song titles and lyrics deserves props. Producing songs that are overly literal while still oozing sexual innuendo cant be easy. Lets Duet was a particularly chuckle-inducing number. The film has a few truly witty moments of ironic dialogue, such as doomed Nate Coxs proclamation that Ain't nothin' terrible gonna happen today! Overall, I cant complain too much about Walk Hards casting or acting. Ive loved John C. Reilly ever since watching him perform Mr. Cellophane in Chicago, and his hang-dog demeanor was a perfect choice for this role as a much put-upon rock icon. Jenna Fischer, star of the best sitcom of all time The Office, is a respectable choice as Dewys on-the-road love interest Darlene Madison. Shes cute as a button, although the role itself is fraught with problems which are detailed below.
Whats the problem with this spoof, you ask? For one thing, Walk Hard stops being funny about a third of the way through. This film feels like a one trick pony, and if I heard Deweys estranged father announce that the wrong son died one more time, I might have walked out. Some of the movies most low brow jokes fall totally flat, such as the gratuitous male anatomy shot that appears onscreen for no good reason. Worse still, Walk Hard falls into the popular parody trap of lingering just a notch too close to real life. The films plot, as indicated above, mirrors very closely that of the award-winning Walk the Line. Fischers role in particular feels an awful lot like a less-appealing June Carter Cash. Instead of sticking to its over-the-top comedy roots throughout, Walk the Line makes vain attempts at a deeper meaning which are neither funny nor touching but just
Walk Hard also suffers from some severe pacing problems. While the title tune is far catchier than it has a right to be, many other musical numbers feel interminable. Mr_chelledun observed that he was just hoping the movie would be over soon. Deweys climactic Beautiful Ride feels particularly overlong. While Walk Hard grabbed my attention in its opening scenes, it completely lost it by the time the credits rolled.
I dislike this film more the more I think about it. Walk Hard simply doesnt provide enough hilarious moments to justify suffering through its general mediocrity. The concept could be funny, but Walk Hard loses its groove half an hour in and never gets it back. Looking for a good holiday season comedy? Dont walk this way, or youll be sorely disappointed.
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Movie Mood: Funny Movie