>> Walk Hard (Brandon’s Review, 3.5/10)

>> Walk Hard (Brandon’s Review, 3.5/10)It pains me to say, but doesn’t necessarily surprise me, that “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” is a first-rate disaster. I stopped being amused by the trailer before I saw it for the fifth time then I would groan when I saw the trailer (still a part of me thought the trailer just kept company with bad trailers on bad movies; turns out it is guilty of all that spirit deadening nonsense too). Judd Apatow and his crew are a pretty tightly knit bunch and just about all of them make a cameo appearance, but it has never before had a cheapening effect on the film, in fact, such moments have been welcome in other comedies but here it is a miscalculation on par with Adam Sandler (whose new film “Don’t Mess with the Zoltan” boasts an Apatow screenwriting credit and all the ear-markings of a trainwreck) and his entourage who have made it their mission in life to destroy the comedic form.”Walk Hard” takes it’s biggest cues from “Walk the Line” and “Ray” as Dewey is literally and figuratively haunted by the stigma of being the survivor in a pair of brothers and also a drug addict and genius who has loved many women but really loves only one.

“Walk Hard” takes an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ approach to it’s comedy (not unusual, pretty smart actually until you consider that somebody making this movie takes the sink part of that statement literally as Dewey decimates three bathrooms and rips more sinks out of the wall than I have fingers). Every joke the film tries to make is on a par with the “You Can Do It!” schtick from “The Waterboy” and “The Animal”, easily wearing out its welcome long before it even establishes whether or not it’s funny enough to repeat. The Beatles cameo is easily the most smug and self-indulgent joke in the whole movie because everybody dons their best British accent, says their respective character’s name then something like “There’s no limit to what we can…imagine” or “Let’s do some LSD.” I get that it’s supposed to be stupid and superficial and thin but what in the hell exactly is wrong with fleshing out what sounds like a really good joke into an actual good joke.

John C. Reilly while being musically inclined is hardly equipped to shoulder the picture. He’s better when he plays into someone else’s insanity and he doesn’t have a sidekick to match this time out– it’s just a revolving door. I may have gone so far as to cast Will Ferrell or Reilly’s “Prairie Home Companion” singing partner Woody Harrelson in the role instead. John C. Reilly just lumbers along blindly I think the others could have brought a spark of madness or genius. The only person who seems to strive to make the material better (if only by their conviction) is Tim Meadows, whose strong suit most likely is not improv but I feel like he feels the need to not let sucky material let him suck so much. Everyone else seems to blindly adhere to the script (I have a suspicion after his cameo here that Jonah Hill is also flawless in the company of Apatow).

It bears mentioning that Jake Kasdan is the helmer of this film and that he also directed the equally bad “Orange County” which showcased another talented “Freaks and Geeks” scribe, Mike White, at their current nadir. I suppose Kasdan’s contributions to “Freaks and Geeks” remains an anamoly. I would like to take a moment to encourage Jake Kasdan and his brother Jonathan (writer/director of “In The Land of Women”; not so bad with characters, not so good with stories) to step away from typewriters and video cameras until they either learn something from their father or start selling those items for a living.

3.5 on a scale of 1 to 10

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5 Comments

  1. i think you totally missed the boat on this one. i’m sure we’ll argue about this more in person, but maybe here some other opinions can be considered.
    reilly is perfect in this role. i’d argee that will ferrell would’ve done well here, but reilly is excellent in his own right.
    the movie is exceptionally well-written considering its satirical nature.

  2. Yeah, 3.5 puts this in “Epic Movie” territory, and it surely can’t be THAT bad…

  3. i thought it was hilarious. definitely not as bad as brandon wants us to believe. Man, Epic Movie hurt to sit through. 3.5 is the kind of pain that is most effectively delivered from any of the 6 writers of Scary Movie.

  4. I had a feeling that this movie would bomb, based on the trailers.

  5. Sorry Brandon, but completely disagree. Will Ferrell would’ve been fine, but I don’t think he’s quite the rock/country star type of entertainer that Reilly is (who can also perform this act live as I witnessed after the Austin premiere about 3 weeks ago when he went on stage at Stubbs BBQ as Dewey and did an hour-long set with his band). Reilly blends the Southern ignorance of a Woody Harrelson while lacking the sex appeal of a “sexy” character like Ferrell, and can actually rock out on par (and I’m completely serious about this one) with Jack Black. He can go from Johnny Cash to a coked out Jim Morrison in the blink of an eye, and hit everything in between. This role was perfect for John C. Reilly.
    I do agree about Tim Meadows.
    I totally disagree about Jonah Hill. His fuck-faggot-pussy-shit-cock loaded sentences got tiresome after about 15 minutes in SUPERBAD. I like him as a comic actor because he can be very funny, but I don’t like seeing him act as someone that seems too much like himself when he goes on uninterupted profanity binges.
    Considering that this, I think, is the first real attempt by the crew at 100% parody it’s astonishing to me that they got it as right as they did. I won’t argue that there a good number of jokes that didn’t hit their mark, but this movie has a joke about every 10 seconds, and so I’d say that I laughed at least 45 seconds/minute. I laughed much harder at this movie’s absurdities than I did at any of the Mel Brooks or Zucker Bros. films. I’d have to watch it again to be positive, but I’m pretty sure I laughed about as hard, and often, at this as I did with ANCHORMAN, and I laughed harder and more often at ANCHORMAN than any other comedy I’ve seen in recent memory.


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