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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Posted on Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

****1/2
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Rated: R
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer
Director: Jake Kasdan
WorkNameSort: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Our Rating: 4.50
Is it possible for a film to have jokes about exposed penises and chopping people in half with machetes, yet still be too smart for the masses? If so, that movie is Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. At the packed advance screening I attended, you could hear crickets during the film’s most inspired pieces of satire. The movie’s plotline, set pieces, characterizations and dialogue go beyond parody and into genre commentary. It chronicles the rise, fall and rise again of a fictional pop chameleon (John C. Reilly) with such biting awareness of the musical biopic formula that it’s as hard to go back to Walk the Line and Ray as it was to return to Family Guy after South Park exposed it. All the clichés are trotted out with Brechtian glee, from the overly exacting father to the haunting childhood trauma, to the destructive dependency on drugs and the subsequent career rebirth, to the overarching need in musical biographies to capture the cultural zeitgeist of the period. Reilly, imitating early Beatles, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson, shows more range than ever in the role that should catapult him into the A-list.

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