Posted by: Johnny Loftus on December 21, 2007 at 10:00 am

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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Jake Kasdan, 2007)

Judd Apatow’s latest offering is a spoof biopic that hails from the school of “Behind the Music,” but leans toward the overt innuendo of the Austin Powers films. The setup: lovably ruddy-faced John C. Reilly plays crooner Dewey Cox, whose career spans decades of musical territory from Buddy Holly to Brian Wilson to Johnny Cash. Turns out, “Dewey Cox needs to think about his entire life before he plays.”

From an obscene ice cream-licking duet with a June Carter stand-in (played by Jenna Fischer, America’s favorite receptionist) to a few solid machete duels, Walk Hard sure tries hard to earn its laughs. And when Dewey demands “an army of didgeridoos” and runs in fear of The Temptations, it’s impossible to hold them back.

The film shamelessly steals sets, wardrobe and sentiment from Walk The Line and Ray, and keeps the plot as predictable. (Rags to riches, the trouble with fame, etc.) But the cameos keep you guessing — Jack White’s mumbling and karate-chops breathe new life into impersonating Elvis — and when our man drops acid in India with The Beatles – in the unlikely forms of Jack Black, Justin Long, Jason Schwartzman and Paul Rudd – they all melt into animated primary colors.

Apatow and director/co-writer Jake Kasdan also spoon-feed the foreshadowing — you know what you’re going to laugh at before you laugh, but then you still laugh. For example, just before he’s accidentally sliced in half , Dewey’s brother declares “Ain’t nothing horrible gonna happen today.” It’s a joke borne from the flashbacks in Ray (or VH1′s “BHTM”), then infused with the delciously hammy style of the Apatow Players. — Ava Dial

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[tags]Walk Hard, Dewey Cox, John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow, Jake Kasdan, Jake Long, Paul Rudd[/tags]

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