Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story tells the tale of a fictional music star through the four decades from the 1940's to the 1980's.
We actually join the film at the end. A concert is in progress but the star is outside leaning against a wall reminiscing about the past. Two brothers are playing sword fighting with machetes in a barn. It's an era from long ago. Corn is growing high in fields around the barn and tragedy is about to strike...One of the covers comes off a machete and Dewey ends up cutting his brother in half and killing him.
His father never forgives him and claims all the way through the movie that the wrong kid had died.
Whilst carrying out one of his chores, young Dewey comes across two men singing the blues and playing guitars - Dewey asks for a go and discovers that he has a natural born talent for playing (and singing) the blues.
Using the magic of film, we jump forward a few years to a high school talent competition. Fourteen year old Dewey (from this scene on played by John C Reilly) and his band, The Dewey Cox Four play a number called “I Want To Take your Hand” - much to the amusement of the youngsters in the audience and the bemusement of the elders. Dewey has shamed his father again and is banished from the house.
He runs away and marries his twelve year old bride Edith (played by Kristen Wiig). She appears to have another baby in her arms in each scene she appears in and times are getting hard - no money and all Dewey wants to do is make music.
They get the chance to make a record - having been approached by the local rabbi and his son, who become the bands management team.
They end up cutting a song called “Walk Hard”. The song is a phenomenal hit and goes to number one in the billboard charts.
Success hits Dewey like a steam train and it's not long before he's proclaimed the “New Elvis” in 1958...and ends up going on tour with Elvis and Buddy Holly.
He soon finds that fame comes with a price - and that anything has its price.
Dewey becomes fascinated with The Beatles and ends up getting stoned with them in India - with Jack Black playing a rather rotund Sir Paul. From then, he tries almost every kind of music known to man - and tries to invent one or two genres of his own involving African tribes, goats and babies.
Having left the drug fuelled sixties behind, Dewey gets his own TV show that's quite reminiscent of The Donny and Marie show in the 1970's.
But it's not long before Dewey's popularity nosedives and he's yesterday's soundtrack...
OK - so we've had Scary Movie 1 - 4, Meet The Spartans, Airplane 1 and 2 to name just a few. We now have Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox story to add to the list of mock films. But Walk Hard is a little different. Whilst the aforementioned mock movies contain talent less wannabees or hasbeens (Leslie Nielsen being the exception of course), Walk Hard actually has something of a stellar cast behind it.
The main man is played by Oscar nominee John C. Reilly. Many of you may have seen him strut his musical talent in the movie of the stage show Chicago where he played Amos Hart, the husband at the centre of the story. The thing is this - John can actually sing and his voice is one of the highlights of the film. He is superbly cast as the singing superstar with no direction. He's able to make you laugh out loud while he's trying to play serious on the phone to his wife - while all the time, there's an orgy going on around him and naked bodies everywhere!
Also, you get the impression that this film makes you try to believe that Dewey is a real person. We all appear to have been brought up and have all read about him in the paper at some time or another.
There are two versions of the film on this Blu-ray disc from Sony - the theatrical version and the appropriately titled “Unbearably Long Directors Cut”. I watched the directors version first and yes, I did find it long - but not unbearably so. But I did prefer the theatrical version if I'm honest. It cuts out a lot of the padding and there's less time to wait between the laughs - and the music.
all of the songs have been especially written for the film and cover all genres from blues to hip-hop. A lot of them may sound familiar - that's because they are meant too - this is a mock movie, remember?
We have scenes in this film direct from the likes of Walk The Line, Ray and Beyond The Sea. This makes the directors job a whole lot easier - but the theatrical version does move along at a nice pace and you won't find yourself getting bored. Of course, the character Dewey is based on the character depicted in Walk The Line, Johnny Cash, and even introduces himself when he comes on stage with ”hello everyone, I'm Dewey Cox...” He doesn't sweat as much though. He meets his very own June Carter in the shape of Darlene Madison (played by Jenna Fischer - who played “Woman Number 1” in The 40 Year Old Virgin). She too can sing (or can she...?) and the duet's with Darlene and Dewey are toe tappingly good.
I find it quite hard to place Dewey Cox in the same category as the Scary Movie debacles. Yes - it's a mock movie. But at the same time, it tells the story of virtually every rock star that has appeared on the front pages of any newspaper after some journalist has paid a corrupt cop for the mug shot.
It is laugh out loud funny in parts - thanks mainly to John C. Reilly's perfect comedy timing and his ability to keep a straight face whilst another male is waving a certain part of their anatomy in your face...
The songs are good and original. We get to laugh with Dewey, laugh at him and at times, we feel for him. The bottom line is Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox story raises above its peers by sheer class alone and comes recommended by me for lovers of musicals and comedies alike.
Our Review Ethos