Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story


I guess I’d have to call this one intermittently funny. It sets out to spoof all those musical biopics, in particular Walk the Line, Ray, and even La vie en rose, to name a few more recent ones, and does a pretty good job of including all the clichés, hammering a little hard on them to be sure you get the joke. You have noticed that just about all the superstars of music have followed pretty much the same career arc, haven’t you? Start poor, get some success, get messed up with drugs, and then either die or make a comeback, it hardly matters in story terms. Dewey Cox does both: he dies three minutes after his comeback. In fact, he does everything that anyone in pop music did, from the early ‘50s to the ‘80s. He is sort of a musical Zelig. Remember that Woody Allen film about the guy who was the human chameleon? Put him in a group of people and he instantly became just like them. John C. Reilly is actually one hell of a singer, and he gets to do Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and John Denver, among others. Whatever the musical vogue of the moment is, that’s what he is. His one stumble is when he invents punk rock … in about 1960. Nobody’s ready for it yet. This all works best when Dewey is on stage, making music. The back story with his family is a little over the top, and sort of clashes with the other stuff, which is quite well done.