Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Mockumentaries are an interesting comedic sub-genre.  Satirising someone’s life without actually naming them gives filmmakers freedom to increase the absurdity of their story.  Director Jake Kasdan presents a mocking tribute to various famous musicians with Walk Hard.  Filmed in the style of several recent biopics, Walk Hard is a remorseless attack on Hollywood’s willingness to fit a stock standard formula to its ’subjects’ unconventional lives.
Dewey Cox (John C Reilly) has had a remarkable life.  After tragically sawing his brother in half, Dewey aims to prove himself to his perennially bitter father.  After entering a song contest, he slowly starts climbing to the top of the charts.  Dewey’s traumas never leave him despite becoming the most successful singer of all time.  The pain of divorcing three wives, siring twenty two children and having a bad LSD trip with the Beatles, ensure Dewey’s trips to rehab are many.  Survivor that he is, Dewey climbs out of his cess-pit to a triumphant finale showing that only he is worthy to walk a mile in his shoes.
Walk Hard gleefully skewers the over earnestness of biopics.  Making the most outrageous claims based on little evidence, their basis on actual fact is questionable.  With words written by scriptwriters rather than their subjects, the slickness of their delivery masks the true state of their lives.  Their pompous manner also makes them laughable in their own right.  Walk Hard generally succeeds in satirising these elements, although using a different acting style making for an uneven affair.  Discarding a ‘This is Spinal Tap’ documentary approach, Kasdan has gone into spoof territory, softening the blow on its’ target somewhat.
Keeping crude humour to a minimum, the film shows some genuine wit and good timing, delivering gags at a breathless speed.  John C Reilly has always been a great genre actor, appearing to enjoy his rare foray into leading man status.  Gamely doing anything for a laugh, he also sings the increasingly silly songs with a deadly seriousness making things more absurd.  The costuming is a ghastly delight, with the 60s and 70s wardrobe providing more colour than Dewey’s warped life.
Walk Hard isn’t the funniest comedy ever made, but it’s an amiable time waster.  More or less delivering true laughs, things may have been more successful had it played things straight.  This film may not change your life, but neither did any of the terrible biopics it targets.
Rating out of 10:  6 

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