Most of the comedy in Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story could be boiled down to 5 minutes. That just leaves the movie with 91 other minutes to try and fill with something, with anything. Like just about every parody movie these days, Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story doesn’t take long to begin flailing around, going on tangents and trying to rope in random jokes from anywhere. But the real problem is that 5 minutes of comedy is spread thinly across 96 minutes of movie making it a long slow road without a lot of laughs to get to the end.
Even at only 96 minutes Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story feels almost as long as its inspiration, Walk the Line, because like it Walk Hard moves at a lackadaisical drawling pace, occasionally trying for a joke or two along the way. But where Walk the Line was condensing a man’s life, Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story has nothing to condense, it’s just trying to fill dead air and it doesn’t have much to fill it with. Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story spoofs the standby rags to riches to drugs to redemption cliches of the rock and roll biopic but its jokes are as boring and shapeless as the target. And when they’re done we have to endure scene after scene that turns Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story into a mediocre version of a rock and roll biopic itself with few laughs along the way.
John C. Reilly is a naturalistic actor and plays the part that way, would be all right if we were meant to take it seriously, instead it puts him in a different movie than his TV comedy co-stars. Unlike them Reilly doesn’t seem to know he’s in a comedy and often neither does Jake Kasdan, who shoots scenes filled with naturalistic performances and scenery that are as slow paced as molasses.
There are some funny moments in the movie, such as the meeting with the Beatles and the reactions to Cox chopping his brother in half and his first concert, but the common element is that they involve performances by someone other than Reilly. And Judd Apatow’s script predictably underplays the comedy and overplays the R rating, somehow not realizing that a woman’s bare breasts are not actually funny, neither are money shots of Reilly or any of the movie’s other awkward sex scenes.
Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story sets out to parody the rock and roll biopic and winds up being as awkward, flat and tedious as any of them. It has some half-decent songs and a cast wasted by a movie that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do and how to do it.