Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Rated R 136 minutes

Since the commercial success of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), producer Judd Apatow has operated on parallel tracks, alternating insightful romantic comedies (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, both self-directed) with increasingly strained knockoffs of his initial hit (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and now Walk Hard). This time the bumptious icon is a 50s rocker (John C. Reilly) whose heartache and debauchery stretch over five decades; the story is closely patterned on the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, with young Dewey accidentally killing his brother in a machete fight (“Dewey, I'm cut in half pretty bad!”). Apatow and director Jake Kasdan deliver a fair number of laughs, though nearly every good idea is pressed into service as a running gag. The biggest disappointment is their survey of rock history, which has all the depth of a Time-Life book.

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