One of my favorite kinds of movies (especially these days!) are really stupid comedies with a clever edge in satirizing a genre. “Airplane” and the disaster film genre, “Naked Gun” and the detective thriller were hilarious send-ups. Just as hilarious but much more adult, WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY made me laugh out loud, a LOT!
John C. Reilly (Chicago, Talladega Nights) stars as country singer Dewey Cox, about to go on stage to win a lifetime achievement award, but not before he flashes back on his entire life for 90 minutes.
With heavy doses of “Walk The Line” and a splash of “Ray”, Dewey accidentally kills his brother in the barn (“I’m cut in half pretty bad, Dewey!” is one of the funniest lines in the movie, I can’t stop saying it days later, much to Tamara’s delight.) and becomes the scorn of his father, Pa Cox, hilariously played by Raymond J. Barry. His signature line “The Wrong Kid died!!!” is delivered throughout by Barry in an astonishing variety of ways.
Dewey’s career takes off from small town band to country star, rocketing through the oft told stages of success, fame, sex, drugs, addiction, jail time, hippie movement, TV variety star, retirement and redemption. But all those stages are so loaded with raunchy laughs that it would be hard to pick a favorite.
Reilly makes the whole thing work perfectly by playing it straight and sweet the whole way through. He also sings all his own songs and they are all terrific, especially when they are so loaded with sexual double entendres that the actors can barely keep a straight face. “In my dreams, you’re blowing me….some kisses” as a duet by Fischer and Reilly will make your face hurt.
Jenna Fischer (The Office) is Dewey’s teasing second wife, a 180 role from Pam Beesley! Kristin Wiig is a riot as Dewey’s first wife of their seemingly endless parade of kids. I haven’t seen this many kids in a yard since the opening scenes of Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”. Chris Parnell, Matt Besser and Tim Meadows (“You don’t want any part of this Dewey!”) are so damn funny as Dewey’s band and Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters) is L’Chaim, his music agent.
My favorite scene might be when hippie-phase Dewey meets the Maharishi with the Beatles, who are hilariously played by Paul Rudd (John Lennon), Jack Black (McCartney), Jason Schwartzman (Ringo) and Justin Long (George Harrison). These are the fractured, end of group Beatles and their verbal and physical assaults on each other had us doubled over with laughs.
Jane Lynch also slays as TV Reporter Gail, doing an interview with Dewey on the set of his TV variety show that quickly goes south.
Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year-Old Virgin) is really in sync with my dirty sense of humor with his screenplay. It’s foul, funny and not for the kids!
Pa Cox: You're not half the boy Nate was. You're not even half the boy that the top half of Nate was after you cut him in half.
Dewey - Age 8: So you're saying I'm less than a quarter of the boy Nate was?
You’ve got twice the laughs of most comedies, Dewey and WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY makes me laugh. What more could you want!? It's a guilty pleasure that gets a B+.