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The up-and-down-and-up-again story of musician Dewey Cox, whose songs would change a nation. On his rock 'n roll spiral, Cox sleeps with 411 women, marries three times, has 36 kids, stars in his own 70s TV show, collects friends ranging from Elvis to the Beatles to a chimp, and gets addicted to - and then kicks - every drug known to man; but despite it all, Cox grows into a national icon and eventually earns the love of a good woman - longtime backup singer Darlene. Written by
"Walk Hard" is a clever parody of the life of a rock-star, and bio-pics such as "Walk the line", "Ray" and "La Bamba". It follows the formula nearly perfectly, and follows fake rock-star legend Dewey Cox (and yes, they do have plenty of puns with his name, but this is to be expected) through his life in the 50's, 60's, 70's and into today.
The surprise of "Walk Hard" is that although it was written by the guys who made "Superbad" and "Knocked Up", and has the "formula spoof" similar to "Scary Movie" and "Epic Movie", this film manages to be quite intelligent, and manages to avoid overly gross out humor. While it has its share of gross out and slapstick gags, it isn't completely idiotic, while movies such as "Epic Movie" or "Talladega Nights" tend to be totally moronic and disgusting. The humor here is very observational, self-parodying, ironic, surreal, dark and often hysterical.
The reason why "Walk Hard" works well is because of its somewhat wicked sense of humor. It manages to ironically "overdue" the jokes to the point that you can see the actual funny part is that it is being overdone and over-the-top. It self implies that something is going to go bad, and makes the audience clearly see what path the scene is heading towards, which is also another part of its sense of humor.
The performances are very good as well. John Reilly plays Dewey very well, and his naive but good natured persona often plays out hysterically in contrast to a society often attempting to harm him. His character does lack some substance and emotional depth, though this is to be expected in the humorous nature of the film, and is the writing, not the acting. He plays the role from ages 14 to 71, and the goofy age difference between Reilly and how old of a character he is playing is another one of the film's ironic self-aware quirky jokes, in which he constantly reminds us of his age throughout the film so we can see this, as well as the purposely awkward looking make-up.
Jenna Fischer is great as his love interest and duet partner, a parody of Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line", who falls on and off for Dewey throughout the movie based on his life decisions, another movie formula cliché. Tim Meadows is hysterical as Cox' drug-addict drummer and long time friend, with all of his lines being in a tongue-in-cheek and smart-ass manner, and a hysterical repetition of scenes where he introduces Cox to drugs.
All in all, the only problem with this movie is that it is quite uneven. The movie seems to spend a large time dealing with Dewey's life in the 50's, not spending much time in the 60's, 70's or 90's, and spending no time in the 80's. It jumps into his problem a bit fast and doesn't go into depth into some areas of his life as much as others.
However, despite being somewhat uneven, "Walk Hard" remains a very entertaining, very funny, and witty movie. It is quite tragic that this opening weekend went up against the liking of nearly 4 very popular movies, resulting in a box office failure of this film. Hopefully next week, or in the future to come, this gem of a comedy (A rare thing in 2007), can be seen and gain a reputation among others.
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