Walk Hard starring the very talented John C. Reilly is a witty, clever parody of rock star biographies. I initially steered clear of this movie because I found the poster of Reilly as Jim Morrison repellent and I didn’t want to muddle my brain with Will Ferrell/ Talladega Nights kinds of movies. It’s also made by the same guys that made Superbad and Knocked Up so I almost walked hard in the opposite direction. But my son rented it and we found it really funny. My husband almost laughed himself off the couch and had to watch it twice.
Walk Hard which I think came out Christmas of 2007, is a really smart movie. You sort of have to know what they’re talking about before you can enjoy it. Maybe that’s why its rating on IMDb is kind of paltry. The movie follows the life of fake rock star legend Dewey Cox and spoofs all sorts of bio-pics. In the 50s Dewey Cox is discovered and his Elvis-like story unfolds like the Coal Miner’s Daughter and the Buddy Holly Story. He morphs into a tex-mex Roy Orbison and then he becomes a copy of Bob Dylan straight out of D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back. Dewey meets the Beatles in
. With a full orchestra including the didgeridoo, Kalahari Bushmen, and a herd of goats he becomes Brian Wilson. India
When Dewey, suffering from writer’s block, sinks into a mundane existence his manager persuades him to do a “Sonny and
Cher” style variety show. Then he falls into a Partridge Family lifestyle with his plethora of children. Again, you’ve got to know what they’re on about before you can understand the joke. Dewey Cox becomes a national icon and the movie culminates with a tribute to Dewey at the end of his days.
Walk Hard can be crass, but the smarty-pants cleverness of this movie redeems it for me. The music really impresses. John C. Reilly is a talented singer and performs all the songs on the soundtrack. And the soundtrack is great. All the songs – derived from popular styles of the day – stand up on their own right. The DVD also includes videos and songs not included in the movie. We find ourselves, as I mentioned above, singing them around the house. The Bob Dylan spoof "Royal Jelly" is hilarious. I was going to print it here but you really have to see it.
The homely (what a mug!) but pleasant John C. Reilly plays Dewey Cox from the age of 14! to 71 which in itself is a joke. Jenna Fisher from The Office is his love interest and does a good job of being Dewey’s June Carter-Cash. His first wife Kristen Wiig is left with a bunch of children and a giraffe. She’s fond of saying “I love you. You’ll never amount to anything.”
Tim Meadows is Dewey’s drummer – introducing him to the drug of the month in a series of hilarious repetitive scenes. Other names to look out for are: Harold Ramis, Chris Parnell, Frankie Muniz, Jack White, Jack Black, Jackson Browne, Jewel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Vedder, Paul Rudd and the ubiquitous Justin Long. In the extended version Cheryl Tiegs is Dewey’s 1970s wife. Patrick Duffy, Cheryl Ladd and Morgan Fairchild make appearances too.
Walk Hard is rude - there’s no getting away from that. It has its share of grottyness and drug jokes, tons of innuendo and a "little" nudity. I wouldn’t show it to anyone under 14. But it’s WAAAAY funnier than I expected it to be.
all pictures from www.movieweb.com