Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: Grade B

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer. Director Jake Kasdan

As a satire of the music biopic genre, this movie is more silly than insightful. It mocks recent pictures such as Ray and Walk Tall, and many individual musical styles, from Dylan to the Beatles. The musical writing itself is even humorous, the way original songs are made to sound like well-known songs without actually copying. Interspersed with unfunny melodramatic exaggeration, there are some very good postmodern digs at individual artists, such as Elvis or the Beatles. The references are “postmodern” because while making fun of the target, the jokes also ironically draw attention to themselves, so the joke itself is part of the joke. It is clever stuff, but only clever, not revealing of anything. The whole movie has the feeling of a somewhat lame SNL sketch, or a series of them. Reilly does his own singing however and that’s quite impressive. Fischer (“Pam” from The Office) really can act. You don’t once think of her as a receptionist. If you’re a fan of goofy, adolescent humor, and of co-writer Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, etc.) then you’ll enjoy this light, throwaway comedy.

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