Sunday, December 23, 2007

Walk Hard Spoofs Rock Biopics Quite Brilliantly, Really

Chances are, if there's a rock biopic out, I'm going to see it. And chances are, the star of the film will win acclaim and awards for their performance. But while these films can feature remarkable performances and revive your interest in brilliant musicians, they also can fall victim to the same conventions of storytelling, and frequently rely on certain cliches and embellishments of the truth. Such conventions and cliches are spoofed to hilarious effect in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Directed by Jake Kasdan, who co-wrote the film with Judd Apatow, Walk Hard is just long enough to get its point across, while never wearing out its welcome. It successfully manages to stay funny beginning to end, while never falling victim to the spoof conventions of over-the-top humor. With John C. Reilly leading a comedy-smart cast, everything about Walk Hard stays sharp. I was captivated till the end.

Walk the Line and Ray are certainly influences for the spoof, but the likes of Dreamgirls, La Bamba, The Buddy Holly Story and Great Balls of Fire are all on trial here. There's even hilarious references to the classic Bob Dylan doc, Don't Look Back, and the Beatles' cartoon experiment, Yellow Submarine. Even as Cox trips on acid and rips out sink after sink, the humor of the film never spirals out of control. It is on the strength of Reilly that the film is held so tightly together. I could easily reference a dozen memorable scenes, but I'd rather not reenact them here for you. I will say, however, that the original music does not disappoint - from the sexual inuendos of "Let's Duet," to the catchy title track, to could-be-a-hit "Guilty as a Charged" - all the way to the title track-sampling explicit rap revealed towards the film's end.

Where Walk Hard truly succeeds is that it does not ridicule the lives of the musicians it spoofs. Rather it spoofs a genre heavy on cliches - and for that, Walk Hard is a triumph.

Dewey Cox meets The Beatles:

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Now I definitely want to see this. From what I have been hearing it rises about the general spoof in that, as you say, it shows real affection for it. Much like Hot Fuzz did with buddy cop movies.