Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (R)

Comedy 96 December 21, 2007
By Jim Ridley
Scripted by Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan and directed by Kasdan, this burlesque of pop biopics — modeled to a fault on Walk the Line — aims no higher than to give the genre its own Epic/Date/Scary Movie. It barely even hits that low mark, hobbled by Kasdan's needlessly glossy direction and Apatow’s ability to flog a running joke into whimpering exhaustion. John C. Reilly is Dewey Cox, the man, the legend, who overcomes his brother’s accidental death by machete and his father's scorn to reach the toppermost of the poppermost. Reilly's Roy Orbison-ish tenor is game for anything from funk to punk, and he has been given a ready-made hit parade of clever knock-offs. But Dewey is an uninvolving blank, and when the movie isn't sending up something specific — Cash’s drug habit, Bob Dylan’s protest singing, Brian Wilson's obsessive mania — Reilly has nothing to play. The biggest laughs come from players like Tim Meadows and Harold Ramis, who know how to hit their sketch-comedy marks quickly and move on. The rest blows through opportunities like Mötley Crüe through coke money. It takes an almost perverse determination to put Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman, and Justin Long in a room together as the Beatles, then give them so little to do that even Eddie Vedder's cameo as an awards-show presenter smokes them. The DVD extras will almost certainly be better.
Jake Kasdan John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J. Barry, Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows, Harold Ramis, Margo Martindale, Chris Parnell, Matt Besser, David Krumholtz Judd Apatow, Jake Kasdan Judd Apatow, Jake Kasdan, Clayton Townsend Sony Pictures/Columbia