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Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story


Stars: John C Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J Barry, Margo Martindale, Harold Ramis

Director: Jake Kasdan

Judd Apatow, Hollywood's current king of comedy, co-produced this extremely raunchy take-off of such musical biopics as Ray and I Walk the Line.

Dewey (Conner Rayburn), an Alabama farm kid, kills his incredibly talented brother in a machete duel, leaves home at 14, marries at 15 and has 22 children. It's that kind of movie: you know the brother's doomed at the start when he says: 'Ain't nothin' horrible gonna happen today.'

There are a good few more guffaws after that, although not half enough for us to call this a top comedy. Dewey (now Reilly) becomes a successful pop idol in the rock 'n' roll era, then hooks on to every music cycle - and every drug - over the next 20 years. He leaves his first wife (Kristen Wiig) for his back-up singer (the personable Fischer), goes to prison and finally realises the values of fidelity and family life.

One of the highlights of this uneven film is the singing of Reilly as Dewey, following on from his success as Mr Cellophane in Chicago. His rich, full tones are heard to vibrant advantage on some decent pastiche songs. There's a rather clumsy skit on the Beatles (although they're impersonated by the distinguished quartet of Justin Long, Jack Black (as Paul!), Jason Schwartzman and Paul Rudd), but their India-set sequence does have one good line. 'Gee,' says Dewey, 'You guys are almost as good as The Monkees'.

Mostly, though, the film's scatological content - lots of jokes about Cox, extreme bad language and in-your-face nudity - leave this busy pop parody slightly more miss than hit.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Columbia/Sony. Colour.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 13 Jan 2008