Movie Review for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Click Poster to Purchase

Review #588 of 365
Movie Review of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) [R] 96 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $14.25
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 21 December 2007
Time: 5:50 pm
DVD Release Date: 25 March 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: Download now from John C. Reilly - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition] - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Jake Kasdan (The TV Set)
Written by: Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) • Jake Kasdan (The TV Set)

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
John C. Reilly (Year of the Dog) • Jenna Fischer (The Brothers Solomon) • Raymond J. Barry (Little Children) • Margo Martindale (Feast of Love) • Kristen Wiig (The Brothers Solomon) • Chip Hormess (Transformers) • Conner Rayburn ("According to Jim") • Tim Meadows (The Benchwarmers) • Chris Parnell (Hot Rod) • Matt Besser (The TV Set) • David Krumholtz (Superbad) • Harold Ramis (Knocked Up) • Phil Rosenthal (Spanglish) • Martin Starr (Superbad)
As Themselves:
Eddie Vedder • Otis Williams • Ron Tyson • Terry Weeks • Joe Herndon • Bruce Williamson • Jackson Browne • Jewel Kilcher • Ghostface Killah • Lyle Lovett
Notable Cameos:
John Michael Higgins as the Record Producer • Justin Long as George Harrison • Paul Rudd as John Lennon • Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr • Jack Black as Paul McCartney • John Ennis as The Big Bopper • Frankie Muniz as Buddy Holly • Jack White as Elvis • Jonah Hill as the adult Ghost of Nate

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Click to see photos from the Premiere of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Click to read the spoiler points for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Do you know how hard it is to write a review of a movie that mocks the tragic death of Johnny Cash's older brother in a saw accident, pokes you in the face several sassy times with the fully frontal Monty, contains the anti-politically correct anthem "Mama You Got to Love Your Negro Man", and has ever-escalating drug use with ghost hands? Come on, you've got to write hard to top the innuendo of the riskiest satirists of our time, Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow. Only if you've been living under a rock hard would you not know Judd Apatow…or…maybe you've not been reading the tops of movie posters. Some people never knew him until the 40-Year Old Virgin or maybe Anchorman, but his career began long, long ago as a high school student disc jockey who interviewed the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Garry Shandling. After a career most of us would not consider a failure, but most of us are not trying to be Hollywood movie moguls, he went on to mostly produce and variously write or direct sometimes: "The Ben Stiller Show", The Cable Guy, "The Larry Sanders Show", "Freaks and Geeks", North Hollywood (tv movie), The Zero Effect (tv movie), "Undeclared", Anchorman, Kicking and Screaming, The 40 Year Old Virgin, American Storage, The TV Set, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, 2007's: Knocked Up, Superbad, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and not to worry, a whole string of other movies coming soon including: Drillbit Taylor, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, I Love You, Man; and Year One…whew! So, while it's true that a lot of his films have been great, it's been a rocky road for the comedian turned writer turned producer turned actor turned director turned executive producer turned song-writer. As for Jake Kasdan, he's not done too badly himself rising up from production assistant on Grand Canyon and archivist on Wyatt Earp to working alongside Apatow. Putting their talents together to write what they would probably not call a raunchy parody of overly redundant, self-congratulatory, morally conflicted musician biopics, but rather a straight-forward, adult, comedic satire, they have concocted Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Dewford Randall Cox (Conner Rayburn) was born in Springberry, Alabama to Ma (Margo Martindale) and Pa (Raymond J. Barry). Not the crown prince of the family, Dewey was constantly in the shadow of his perfect piano-playing older brother Nate (Chip Hormess) whom he eventually kills, accidentally, one day in the family barn. Nate invites him to play sword-fight with machetes, and things end with Nate bisected into two pieces leaving Pa to adopt as his life-long mantra, "The wrong son died." At age 15, and now played by John C. Reilly, his talents for music explode upon the Springberry High School Talent Show stage propelling him to be expelled from the town for blasphemous music unbefitting a good Christian.

…there's a brilliance to the Dewey Cox story, however well masked it may be in the often raunchy, occasionally irreverent, probably wickedly genius humor of the mind of Judd Apatow, that should not be ignored.
He and his new girlfriend, Edith (Kristen Wiig), leave town so that, even though she knows he'll fail, he can make it in the music business. From there, Dewey's life follows the formula of the rock star legends with booze, drugs, rock and roll and women. Borrowing elements from the lives of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and just about every other music star that comes to mind, some of whom even appear in the film played by actors in hilarious cameos, Dewey's journey rises and falls fitting the now-worn patterns of celebrities gone wild. He even finally gets a dose of reality and settles down to be a real father to his 23 or 26 kids--who's counting?

If you are going to insult anyone, insult everyone. Isn't that what Thumper's Daddy said in Bambi? Well, Kasdan and Apatow do that and more. No matter how politically correct you may try to be as a person, and there are a lot of people who consider trying to be a bad thing in the first place, but no matter how hard you try, you're going to find it very hard, eventually, not to bust up laughing during this film. In fact, you might find yourself laughing harder than you've ever laughed in a movie since Talladega Nights. This time around, though, there's no Will Ferrell. John C. Reilly proves more than well enough that he's not just Ferrell's sidekick anymore. With a strong musical theatre background, believe it or not, he really sings and swings as Dewey Cox. His incredible versatility carries the picture as Dewey ages and evolves through the decades to earn his eventual lifetime achievement award forcing him out of retirement for one last rousing climax of song. The rest of the cast, which has arguably the best cameos and guest appearances of the decade with only Al Gore noticeably absent, is absolutely first rate. It's one thing to act in a parody and another to get serious enough to realize the power of the parody but no so serious as to blow the parody—you know what I mean? Hey, I'm trying to write this with ghost hands, ok, and it's hard enough without you being skeptical and all that. Jenna Fisher is darling as Darlene Madison—the obvious nod to June Carter Cash. Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell, and Matt Besser seem to have great fun as Dewey's Hard Walkers. Meadows stands out as he carries the oxymoronic role as Dewey's drug soul mate convincing him to try ever-increasingly intoxicating and addictive drugs by suggesting "he won't want to get involved with this" stuff. Ironically, he only declines once, and that's for Viagra®. Meanwhile, give the musicians credit for the great musical numbers with out of control lyrics and catchy melodies that parody great songs in and of themselves. Great costumes and make-up age the performers through the various eras with one particularly hysterical Disco platform shoe performance that still has me chuckling thinking about it. In the end, of course, it's hard to know for certain, but previous work would seem to show that Apatow and Kasdan knew what they were doing when they wrote this screenplay. It didn't happen by accident in some brainstorming session with concept maps up on white boards as they sought to figure out how to follow their previous, legendary comedic treasures.

… try writing an entire review with ghost hands. Then maybe you'll understand.
Without wanting to sound like a literary critic that reads all this symbolism into things that may or may not have been there in the writer's mind to be written about by Ph.D.s for decades or even centuries after, honestly there's a brilliance to the Dewey Cox story, however well masked it may be in the often raunchy, occasionally irreverent, probably wickedly genius humor of the mind of Judd Apatow, that should not be ignored. The comedy is not the excuse rather it’s the actual method for delivery. And, if you think the jokes get repetitive, try writing an entire review with ghost hands. Then maybe you'll understand.

Send This Review To a Friend

Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
Cast Members
John C. ReillyJenna FischerRaymond J. Barry
Margo MartindaleKristen WiigChip Hormess
Conner RayburnTim MeadowsChris Parnell
Matt BesserMartin StarrHarold Ramis
Jake Kasdan
Judd ApatowJake Kasdan
CD Soundtrack

Review-lite Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) [max of 150 words]
Nope, I'm sorry, you're going to have to read the full review. What do you think this is, a free ride to the Cliff's Notes® page? Come on, just read the big green quotations if that's all you have time for. Do you know how hard it is to write a review with ghost hands in the first place? So, I go to all that trouble, and then you cannot take 7 minutes, seriously I timed it reading out loud even which takes longer than reading in your head, and it only takes a mere seven minutes. So, come on, go back and read it. I could pare it down here for you like I normally do, and tell you how great John C. Reilly is, but for once, can't you just read the whole thing? Please? For me?

Send This Review To a Friend

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 2007 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

It was almost like a Manhattan Project for songwriters,” says Bern. “It was the most fun thing I’ve ever done.
Dan Bern, 2007

The cast and crew recorded 40 original songs;[2] 33 are featured in the movie.[3] Singer-songwriter Dan Bern and Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers) wrote most of the film’s songs, including “There’s a Change a Happenin’”, “Mulatto” and “Hole in My Pants”. Marshall Crenshaw wrote the title tune and Van Dyke Parks penned one of the 1960-styled psychedelic jams, “Black Sheep”.

Track listing

iTunes exclusive extended edition

1. “Take My Hand”
2. “Jump Little Children”
3. “(Mama) You Got to Love Your Negro Man”
4. “That’s Amore”
5. “Walk Hard”
6. “A Life Without You (Is No Life At All)”
7. “(I Hate You) Big Daddy”
8. “Walk Hard (Punk Version)”
9. “Let’s Duet”
10. “Darling”
11. “Guilty As Charged”
12. “There’s a Change A’ Happening (I Can Feel It)”
13. “Dear Mr. President”
14. “Hey Mr. Old Guy”
15. “Ladies First”
16. “The Mulatto Song”
17. “Let Me Hold You (Little Man)”
18. “Hole In My Pants”
19. “Royal Jelly”
20. “Farmer Glickstein”
21. “Black Sheep”
22. “Walk Hard (70’s TV Show Theme)”
23. “Who Wants to Party”
24. “Weeping On the Inside”
25. “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”
26. “Walk Hard (All-Star Version)”
27. “Beautiful Ride”
28. “(Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died”
29. “Cut My Brother In Half Blues”
30. “(You Make Me So) Hard”