I hate what spoof movies have become in the last decade. All the "something" Movie's, have been terrible, little more than a thousand badly done pop-culture jokes loosely strung together. They never ever bother to stay within the genre they're supposed to be spoofing. Something like Hot Shots, which I always considered a lesser-spoof, looks like a classic compared to these films, it remains in genre, actually develops the characters and tells a bit of a story. Airplane, the king of spoof films, is as funny today as it was almost 30 years ago, and it will always be funny. While something like Epic Movie feels out of date by the time it gets to DVD. So I was happy to see the trailer for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, it looked more like the classic spoofs, and was made by people with some talent.
Produced and written by Judd Apatow, who's been on a hit comedy roll for the past few years. Co-written and directed by Jake Kasdan, who directed episodes of Apatow's TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, along with some good films, including 2006's The TV Set. Anyways, the fairly high pedigree for this film, got my expectations up pretty high. Walk Hard, didn't quite meet those expectations, but the film is much better than the other spoof comedies of this era. And I think it's one of those films that'll grow on me over time.
Walk Hard, keeps within the rock n' roll biography, mainly spoofing Ray and Walk the Line, but touching on other films, such as The Doors and Great Balls of Fire. The great thing about it is, they take Dewey Cox through just about every genre of of music from the past 50 years. He starts off as a country-rock musician, playing shows with Elvis, a great cameo by Jack White of the White Stripes, has a spiritual awakening with the Beatles, goes through a Bob Dylan faze, moving through disco and pop, before going back to his roots. The songs are all very well written and produced, they believably sound like the songs they're mocking, while being very funny at the same time. The songs are the highlight of the film.
The performances are also very good, they give the goofy jokes a reality. Dewey was the role John C. Reilly was born to play, his charisma sells the idea of him being a huge rock star, while also selling the jokes, without being too cheesy about it. The Office's Jenna Fischer, is really wonderful as Darlene, Dewey's muse and co-singer. Tim Meadows gets a chance to shine as a member of Dewey's band, I particularly liked the scene where he tells Dewey not to try pot. Raymond J. Barry, a character actor who's usually dead serious, made me laugh every time he was on screen as Dewey's dad, even though he only had one real line: "The wrong son died!" - Repeating the same line over and over, is a gag that usually doesn't work, but he has a gravitas that sells it.
The film is well made, with great photography, editing, direction and acting, much better than the other spoofs of this era. So when all the films like Epic Movie, Date Movie and 300 Spartans, are long forgotten, I believe that Walk Hard will live on. It's not a classic, but it is a consistently funny film, that is worth seeing. - Grade: B