Thursday 24 January 2008

Review: Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story

  • Year: 2008
  • Director: Jake Kasdan
  • Screenwriters: Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow
  • Starring: John C Riley

OK. It's another geeky, low brow, comedy which looks destined to reach some sort of cult status (which doesn't take much with some things these days). However Walk Hard is an amusing way to spend 90 minutes.

Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story tells the story of Dewy Cox (John C Riley) a musician who needs to overcome his demons and adversities in order to become the musician legend that we "now know".

Walk Hard is a crafty parody of Ray/walk the line/et all which works when it hits the notes of the recent Oscar winners. ripping on their contrived story moments and cliched tales of redemption. Walk hard doesn't mean to rip into Ray Charles and Johnny cash, however it is saying the films that have been made in their memory are on the borderline between uplifting Oscar fanfare and farcical comedy, made just in time to brown nose for the Oscars.

Are films like Ray bad movies? No but they all follow the same patten, even down to the bad wife/good wife and the ironic "Greek chorus" in which every song of the lead character sings matches the action that came before it. Walk Hard exploits these cliches but never means to upset the music that inspired it (although a certain Beatles cameo may cross a line).

Walk Hard follows many of the films with Apatows name somewhere on the credits. The story is heart felt and the comedy is crude. The combination gels well and is reminiscent of the Farrelly Brothers of old. Walk Hard doesn't hit as many laugh out load targets as Superbad and isn't as sweet as the 40 Year Old Virgin but has more than enough jokes for a titter and just enough story to keep the pace (although it does run out of stream near the end).

John C Riley has always been quite amusing, even in his more "serious" roles of Hard Eight and Boogie Nights. He was the next best thing in Chicago (after Zeta Jones) and has a great presence throughout. He's not as "zany" as Will Farrell or (enter verb here) as Steve Carrell but as an odd mixture of the two that works well with the material.

The soundtrack is catchy, the jokes are more hit than miss and Riley shows that he can carry not only a movie but a COMEDY quite well. Props go out to the amusing cameos (won't spoil them) and Cox's Band (Lovin that Tim Meadows).

If Judd Apatow is anywhere on the credits (usually as Producer), it's almost definitely going to make me laugh. as a writer and producer Apatow has a knack of having his name on genuinely amusingly cult hits. This isn't as quotable as the other films in Apatow's Production Cannon (Once again Superbad) but it's worth watching all the same.