Mock-rock bio pic walks a hard line

PUBLISHED: 16:51 21 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 September 2010

Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story (15) Director Jake Kasdan Starring John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J. Barry, Margo Martindale, Kristen Wiig. 96 mins three star rating There s probably no better screen actor out there than John C Reilly at the mo

Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story (15)

Director Jake Kasdan Starring John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond

J. Barry, Margo Martindale, Kristen Wiig. 96 mins

three star rating

There's probably no better screen actor out there than John C Reilly at the moment; he's been sublime in everything from Magnolia to Talladega Nights.

He's excellent again in the title role here, as a spoof rock'n'roll legend, but it doesn't matter how good a performer he is, the initiation into movie star is not something that can be forced on audiences.

Remember the skinny-dipping girl at the beginning of Jaws? Her demise was long and protracted compared with the haste with which Walk Hard died at the American box office. She at least came up for air once or twice - this just sank straight off the chart. I'd like to think that the smarter, more discerning British audience will come to the rescue of Judd Apatow, Hollywood's new King of Comedy, and his latest film but as it was comparatively lukewarm towards his 2007 blockbusters Super Bad and Knocked Up, so that may be a vain hope.

Apatow has teamed up with director Kasdan to produce a frequently hilarious script which is like a comedic version of The Rutles. Though the second half is a generalised parody of the musical bio pic, the first half is a spoof of the Johnny Cash movie Walk the Line.

Traumatised by an accidental machete dismembering when he was a child, the young Dewey sets off to make his mark on the world through his gift for Rock'n'Roll.

The music bio pic is a particularly soft target but there is still a lot of pleasure to be had from the way Walk Hard plays with its clichés and there are some particularly inspired send ups of Elvis, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. It has to be conceded though that after the first hour the momentum drops and it feels that the same joke is being played a bit too hard.

Still, you could argue that it is wholly appropriate that a movie about popular music should excel when set in the 1950s and 60s only to run out of inspiration when it reaches the 70s.

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