Dewey's Cox Up
There is a very simple way to describe "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story", it is basically "Walk the Line" but turned into a comedy. Not just "Walk the Line" as it also includes elements of "Ray", "The Doors" and various other biopics about musicians as well as spoofing the musician biopic genre in general. But it's not some lame spoof full of unrelated jokes as "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" is comedy built from a story and as such it works. It is at times incredibly stupid but for those who have watched their share of musical biopics will spot the amusing references and find the spoofing of the genre great fun.
After an incident which saw his more talented brother die Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly - Talladega Nights) vows to be twice as good and hits the road to stardom when he writes the song "Walk hard". But it is a turbulent life for Dewey as he marries young has a small army of children, 100s of affairs, becomes addicted to drugs and has a few demons to deal with. Plus as the years pass by he is constantly forced to reinvent himself with the moving times. But despite a flawed life in and out of jail and rehab Dewey with the help of a good woman becomes a national icon.
So as already mentioned "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" is basically a comedy version of "Walk the Line" with a main storyline not too dissimilar to that of Johnny Cash's biopic. But whilst building this similar story it also brings in elements of other notable biopics and so it has Dewey as a young boy losing his sense of smell, a direct reference to "Ray". We also get an element of "The Doors" as well as Dewey's musical journey leads him to drugs and strange music. And there is a lot more as there are bits of various other biopics snuck in whilst also having Dewey's career mirror notable musicians such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and even throws in a bit of Bowie as well.
But "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" is not just about drawing on other biopics as it also has fun with the biopic genre as a whole. It makes fun of various cliches such as when Dewey does drugs for the first time despite being constantly warned against it and then of course there are the countless affairs. Think of any cliche which dominate this genre and it will have been included in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" somehow as part of a major joke or just a minor moment. It's almost clever in the way it does it and if you hadn't realised all ready it makes a point that a lot of these biopics of talented musicians are quite similar.
All of which is good fun especially when you can spot the subtle and often not so unsubtle references but there is more to "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" than just this. Now the humour is to put it simply sexual, this is a movie written and produced by Judd Apatow so what else do expect, but as well as a lot of blatant sex jokes there is some clever humour as well. It is the clever humour which you pick up when you listen to the songs which Dewey sings full of amusing lyrics, often sexual, but so brilliant that you can't but help laugh. And on the subject of the songs John C. Reilly is a pleasant surprise as his singing voice is pretty damn good and when combined with his comic timing and expressions the musical moments are in many ways the stand out feature of the movie.
As well as doing a good job of the singing John C. Reilly also leads the movie brilliantly as his comic timing and facial expressions brings the character of Dewey to life. So good is John C. Reilly that all the supporting performances including Jenna Fischer end up in the shade despite none of them putting in a bad performance. Although with this being a Judd Apatow production you have the added fun of spotting the regulars, those stars such as Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman and Jane Lynch who crop up in his other movies as well as other familiar faces such as Frankie Muniz, David Krumholtz and Simon Helberg.
What this all boils down to is that "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" is a seriously fun movie especially for those who have watched a fair few musical biopics. There is something semi clever about the way it spoofs various movies whilst tackling the genre as a whole and the actual jokes especially the songs which Dewey sings will have you laughing out loud.