Thursday, January 3, 2008

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

It's a shame Judd Apatow had to close 2007 on this rather sour note. Walk Hard reunited Apatow with director/writer Jake Kasdan (The TV Set). Unfortunately after a string of amazing hits this year (Knocked Up, Superbad) and some of the funniest movies over the past several years (40 Year Old Virgin, Ron Burgundy) Walk Hard is just an uninspired parody piece worthy of the "(Insert Genre) Movie" series.

Walk Hard is essentially a straight up parody of the musical biopic. It lampoons everything from Ray to the Doors. Mostly, however, it takes on Walk the Line- the Johnny Cash movie. John C. Reilly stars as Dewey Cox, a country musician who dabbles in about every musical genre while fighting the demons from his childhood. It closely parallels the actual Johnny Cash story, having Cox wrestle with infidelity, drugs, and a disapproving family. The movie may have been better if it hadn't taken the easy route of obvious parody.

The cast is exemplary. Reilly has a long resume of supporting roles, but it felt like he was just trying to channel Will Ferrel this time. Jenna Fisher stars as Darlene (the June Carter character). She hasn't made the best choices in movie roles (Slither, The Brothers Solomon, Blades of Glory) but she can really do no wrong in my eyes. The rest of the cast includes Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell as his band mates, Harold Ramis as a Jewish producer, Frankie Muniz as Buddy Holly, Jack White as Elvis, and Jason Schwartzman, Paul Rudd, Justin Long, and Jack Black as the Beatles. It even includes cameos by Eddie Vedder, Jewel, Lye Lovett, Jackson Browne, and the Temptations. Wow, that is lot of big names in this movie. Somehow it just doesn't add up the sum of its parts. Not even close.

Some parts of the movie were indeed funny. The scene with the Beatles was incredibly funny, complete with Yellow Submarine inspired acid trip. And the scenes with Elvis and Buddy Holly were also very entertaining. Unfortunately for every one of these genuinely funny moments, there were far to many that fell flat. Walk Hard being sampled by a rapper named Lil' Nutzzak? That's right, they wanted to package Cox and Lil' Nutzzak together. Far too many jokes based on his name.

The music was actually really good. Much like Spinal Tap created some truly catchy songs, Walk Hard definitely deserves the best original song nomination it's getting for the Golden Globes. This is a soundtrack I would even consider getting, as it provides a little taste of parody in all kinds of musical styles. Unfortunately, none of this makes the movie live up any where close to Apatow's other movies. He should stick with his original comedies and leave the parody to Jason Friedberg, who's probably working on Scary Movie 5, or Epic Move 2 by this point. Fortunately another string of promising movies by Apatow awaits in 2008.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 2007 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

It was almost like a Manhattan Project for songwriters,” says Bern. “It was the most fun thing I’ve ever done.
Dan Bern, 2007

The cast and crew recorded 40 original songs;[2] 33 are featured in the movie.[3] Singer-songwriter Dan Bern and Mike Viola (of the Candy Butchers) wrote most of the film’s songs, including “There’s a Change a Happenin’”, “Mulatto” and “Hole in My Pants”. Marshall Crenshaw wrote the title tune and Van Dyke Parks penned one of the 1960-styled psychedelic jams, “Black Sheep”.

Track listing

iTunes exclusive extended edition

1. “Take My Hand”
2. “Jump Little Children”
3. “(Mama) You Got to Love Your Negro Man”
4. “That’s Amore”
5. “Walk Hard”
6. “A Life Without You (Is No Life At All)”
7. “(I Hate You) Big Daddy”
8. “Walk Hard (Punk Version)”
9. “Let’s Duet”
10. “Darling”
11. “Guilty As Charged”
12. “There’s a Change A’ Happening (I Can Feel It)”
13. “Dear Mr. President”
14. “Hey Mr. Old Guy”
15. “Ladies First”
16. “The Mulatto Song”
17. “Let Me Hold You (Little Man)”
18. “Hole In My Pants”
19. “Royal Jelly”
20. “Farmer Glickstein”
21. “Black Sheep”
22. “Walk Hard (70’s TV Show Theme)”
23. “Who Wants to Party”
24. “Weeping On the Inside”
25. “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”
26. “Walk Hard (All-Star Version)”
27. “Beautiful Ride”
28. “(Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died”
29. “Cut My Brother In Half Blues”
30. “(You Make Me So) Hard”