Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy Walk Hard – DVD Review

Walk Hard – DVD Review

The problem with parody movies these days is they’re not quite parodies.  More like remakes.

Walk Hard is no exception.

The credits say Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan wrote the script, but they may as well have listed Gill Dennis and James Mangold because Walk Hard is nearly a shot-for-shot remake of Walk the Line.

John C. Reilly is Dewey Cox, whom we first encounter backstage before a concert.  His long time compainon Sam, a sight-for-sore-eyes role for Tim Meadows, informs us that Dewey must recount his entire life before performing.  So begins a 90 minute flashback.

Dewey accidentally kills his brillant brother Nate who’s southern drawl and aw-shucks attitude are brought to life by scene stealer Chip Holmes.  (A later version of Nate is crudely pantimimed by Jonah Hill, who doesn’t even bother to pronounce machete the same way as his co-actor.)  Nate tells Dewey to become twice as successful to make up for his errant deed.

Dewey must overcome his own guilt, and the vengeance of a father who tells him repeatedly that “the wrong kid died.”  He hits the road and uses drugs and women while his records climb the charts.  The parody is as cliche as the cliche it parodies.

The movie is is funny, though, even if Dewey Cox’s career is mirroring Johnny Cash’s.  SNL’s Kristen Wiig gets her share of laughs early on as Dewey’s unsupportive and over-impregnated first wife Edith, who can’t seem to take a breath without both telling Dewey he’ll never make it (even long after he has) or having a fertilized ovum implanted in her uterus.

The decades fly by as Kasdan, who also directed, keeps the pace moving.  At one point Dewey, like the audience, forgot abot Wiig’s character and accidentally got married again to his new backup singer Darlene, played by The Office’s Jenna Fischer.

Walk Hard starts to get good as the ’60s transpire, and the Walk the Line script is set aside for a moment.

On a self-searching trip to India, Cox meets The Beatles; toungue-in-cheek cameos by Jack Black (Paul McCartney), Paul Rudd (John Lennon), Justin Long (George Harrison) and Jason Schwartzman (Ringo Starr).  This trip to India and the subsequent Brian Wilson circa “Smile” period are the movie’s bests.

Speaking of Brian Wilson, it says something about the film’s music that I came away with “Heroes and Villains” stuck in my head, rather than any of the movie’s songs.  There were several Dewey Cox originals throughout the course of the movie, but none are still with me, and it has only been one day.  The music wasn’t terrible, Honeyboy Edwards’ old bluesman was fantastic, and the musical stylings were authentic for the periods. The songs just didn’t leave memories.

Walk Hard is funny; worth a rent, even if it does represent the sorry state of today’s replication-over-lampoonation parody.

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