“The wrong kid died”
That quote above could not have been more correct, however, not in the way Pa Cox intended. I was thinking more along the lines of wishing young Dewey had cut me in half, because had I been unable to watch the rest of the hour and a half to come, it would have been a much better experience. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is easily the worst movie I have seen all year long. There have been some bad films, but this was the first that made me look at my watch numerous times, praying that the horror would be over soon. No disrespect to John C. Reilly—I think he is pretty good as the titular character—the main faults, instead, lie in the writing, and for that I can only blame Judd Apatow. You may say, but Jake Kasdan co-wrote it too, and that is all well and good. The reason I blame Apatow is because his last three ventures (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad) have been good if not great. He should have known better with this and made it differently. I think I even liked this less than Anchorman, and anyone who knows me will understand how bad that is.
This thing is poorly written throughout. From the need to use full names when addressing any character so the joke can be understood, to the blatantly obvious descriptions coming out leaving nothing to the imagination or intelligence a person with a sense of humor has, Walk Hard talks down to the audience at every turn and bores the hell out of them. Some gimmicks are funny the first time, but than by the fourth it is way too old, (sorry Tim Meadows), and how many different ways must we see Dewey and Darlene partake in masturbatory motions while courting each other? Even the playing with time and the fact that he is 15 with a hit single, wife, and five children stifles any laughter later on because the writers seem to just want to beat a dead horse over and over and over again. It is really a shame, because this thing had potential.
Reilly is fantastic as the hapless singer/songwriter pushed into the life of a rockstar by shear dumb luck. All the other cast members are funny as well; it just takes so much out of you watching the same situation relive itself that when the good parts come you just feel too tired to laugh. I actually contemplated walking out of the theatre, but could not bring myself to do so because I really wanted to see the Beatles scene. When it finally came, I could only manage a chuckle and by that time I figured I might as well see if the ending could bring anything to the table. Sadly it did not. Besides a montage of what appear to be gag-reel footage playing during Cox’s final song, there is nothing but gratitude that the train wreck is over.
There is a lot of talent involved and I kind of feel sorry for them. Maybe they all had a lot more to do and I should be blaming Kasdan for poor directing, using bits that aren’t funny and throwing the rest out for deleted scenes on the DVD. What happened to Jack White’s “cut a man in two” line from the trailer—that was funny. Instead his Elvis is pretty stupid and only brings out a reaction from me when he pulls out a pocketknife in the aforementioned end scene gags. The goofy music wears out its welcome fast too unfortunately, because each scene is orchestrated well, the jokes just fall flat. Even when it seemed there’d be a winner with “Duet” song’s use of innuendo before each verse is completed, the sequence goes on too long. I yawned more than laughed throughout the duration.
Big applause to Jenna Fischer for being absolutely stunning and for holding her own opposite Reilly, in his element at all times. Raymond J. Barry is good as the father without love in his heart and it was fun to see SNL’s Chris Parnell and UCB’s Matt Besser adding a little flavor. The highlight, though, and only genuinely funny part for me—like the gang war in Anchorman—was The Beatles. Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Jason Schwartzman, and yes, even Jimmy Fallon, are fantastic. I guess that scene alone, before it became a cartoon, was worth the dollar I paid to watch it.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 2/10 | ★