MOVIE REVIEW ★ 1/2 Just Stay Home

‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’ Is a Disappointment

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Jenna Fischer (left) stars as Darlene Madison and John C. Reilly stars as Dewey Cox in the comedy “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
Gemma La Mana—Columbia Pictures

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Written by Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan

Starring: John C. Reilly, Tim Meadows, and Jenna Fischer

Rated R

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Do you like movies that fail to maintain any coherency whatsoever? How about comedies that are entirely lacking in any actual jokes? Or perhaps you’re a fan of gratuitous full-frontal male nudity, strategically planted so that it surprises you at the least opportune times? If so, then “Walk Hard” is the movie for you. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and never see it, ever.

Rather than buying a ticket to see “Walk Hard,” I recommend opening your wallet, removing a crisp new ten dollar bill, and lighting it on fire. It’s an equal waste of money, is much quicker and less painful, and slightly reduces inflation. While I would love to describe at least a basic outline for the plot of “Walk Hard,” I can’t for the life of me manage to recall it having any sort of structure. It’s fairly evident that the protagonist is a blues-rock artist by the name of Dewey Cox (played by John C. Reilly), and it’s mentioned that he has a pet monkey, but the rest of the movie resembles nothing but a series of miscarriages of real cinematic scenes. The film tracks Cox’s meandering career from a young blues musician through a number of genres and time periods, boring viewers at every turn. At first glance it appears to be a parody of the general music industry, but upon closer inspection it clearly can’t be: parodies are funny and don’t cause people’s brains to ooze out of their ears.

The humor of “Walk Hard” generally operates at something resembling a middle school level, which is probably misguided given its R rating. There is virtually nothing in the movie that one could consider a joke; “Walk Hard” instead relies on unnecessary nudity and absurd goofiness to form a hollow mockery of comedy. The simple reality is that past the age of 15 or so, the simple event of full-frontal nudity being presented in a shocking manner shouldn’t qualify as humor, and if it does, you should probably use MIT’s exceptional wireless connection and laugh yourself to death.

Despite its glaring, egregious flaws, “Walk Hard” does occasionally manage to dredge brief moments of genuine comedy from its seething morass of un-funny disappointments. A scene in which Cox’s friend Sam (Tim Meadows) expounds the dangers of marijuana does contain many genuinely funny lines, and a sequence in which Cox meets The Beatles, although silly, does provide its fair share of humor. On the whole, however, I found the funniest element of “Walk Hard” to be Cox’s ubiquitous monkey, which was frankly quite disappointing. If I want to see monkeys being ridiculous I would (and do) watch National Geographic, and it’s disheartening that it would probably be much more humorous.

In 1984, the movie “This Is Spinal Tap” was released, both mocking and reveling in the ridiculous elements of the music industry and accompanying lifestyle in a hilarious film. “Walk Hard” is virtually identical to “Spinal Tap,” except that it is far less intelligent and sucks, and the music is worse. This movie will make you unhappier, stupider, and worse-smelling just from being in the same room, and I strongly recommend against watching it. Go watch “Spinal Tap” instead.