Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story [2007] has, in its active attempt to create the most thoughtlessly shitty music biopic possible, distilled to its essence the genre as a whole. One may be fooled into thinking that director/co-writer Jake Kasdan and producer/co-writer Judd Apatow simply refrained wholly from any effort in the filmmaking process—a difficult achievement like clearing one’s mind of all thought for a pure cleansing meditation, or completely relaxing one’s diaphragm to cure the hiccups (it does work)—and from their lack of labor came about a miraculous gem: it is more likely that this film instead came from a huge exertion of creative and technical energy. The best films with the most work behind them feel automatic; Walk Hard, in a bizarre three-layer opposite/non-opposite, feels like a film that’s trying too hard because the filmmakers tried very hard (so that it looks effortless) to replicate a film that tries too hard. Make no mistake: it’s a masterpiece.

Down Life’s: The Dewey Cox Story. The talent of star John C. Reilly is palpable. In accordance with the film’s tone, he makes a full mockery of the very archetype he is perfectly embodying. In a dizzying odyssey through the musical evolution of rock and roll, here described as his own incidental doing, Reilly’s Cox rubs up against his stiff competition, including Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and others I haven’t really listened to…all portrayed by a gallery of actors so delightful that their very list would be a spoiler.

Rocky Road: The Dewey Cox Story. It’s honestly spooky how effectively the film replicates Oscar bait. By the time the credits roll, it really does feel like one man’s beautiful ride through life has been shared, and that some profound thing has been bestowed upon the audience. What is this profundity? Don’t worry, they repeatedly say what it is during several scenes.

Better than most of the movies it makes fun of.