Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) - 2-Disc Unrated Edition

Genre(s): Comedy / Music
Columbia || Unrated - 120 minutes - $29.96 || April 8, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-04-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer(s): Jake Kasdan & Judd Apatow (written by)
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig


Theatrical Release Date: December 21, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Theatrical Version
  • Unrated Director's Cut
  • Feature Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Full Song Performances
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Line-O-Rama
  • A Christmas Song from Dewey Cox
  • Cox Sausage Commercial with Outtakes
  • Song Demos
  • Tyler Nilson: A Cockumentary
  • Bull on the Loose
  • The Music of Walk Hard
  • The Making of Walk Hard
  • The Real Dewey Cox
  • The Last Word with John Hodgman


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Note: This review covers the theatrical version only.

WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY is the latest attempt by Judd Apatow to take over the entertainment world. The last 3-4 years he has produced or directed several $100m projects including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Superbad. While Walk Hard wasn’t anywhere near a box office success (netting only $20m worldwide on a $35m budget), this is a spoof movie I have been waiting for. No, it is not in the same vein of recent turds such as Epic Movie, Date Movie and even Scary Movie 2-4. Instead of throwing jokes at a wall and hoping a couple will stick, this takes one takes on one genre, biopics and runs with it, with some success.

Walk Hard was co-written (with Apatow) and directed by Jakes Kasdan (Orange County). It spoofs/parodies a few of the bio-pics that have graced the big screen, namely Ray, Balls of Fire and, the biggest influence, the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. Kasdan and Apatow certainly built a solid foundation and while there certainly are a few scenes that don’t work, the film as a whole is good, though not great. And, of course, they make the most of “Cox” jokes...

I think the reason many people didn’t go to this, and those that did weren’t impressed, was because it: a) wasn’t marketed correctly by Sony; b) doesn’t fit in with the rest of the spoof/parody genre and c) takes a lot to really get into. Since this isn’t a parody with wall-to-wall jokes, and if you’ve never seen Walk the Line or the others, it’s hard to appreciate some of the jokes or situations they’re making fun of.

After playing second fiddle to Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights and co-starring in numerous films over the years, John C. Reilly finally gets to star in a movie. Does he get the nuance of the Johnny Cash/Joaquin Phoenix or Ray Charles/Jamie Foxx roles? Sure. Yet, especially towards the end, I almost thought he was also channeling Ferrell as well going on a crazy spree of yelling and all around zaniness. That said, Reilly certainly has comic timing, though I’m not sure if he’ll be starring in many comedies in the future.

Walk Hard co-stars the absolutely beautiful Jenna Fischer (“The Office”) as Dewey Cox’s second wife (think Reese Witherspoon), Tim Meadows as the band’s drummer who gets Dewey into hard drugs and a slew of solid talents: David Krumholtz, Harold Ramis, Chris Parnell and John Michael Higgins, plus some cameos by Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman, Justin Long, Jack White, Jewel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Vedder, Jonah Hill and The Temptations.

This 2-disc DVD also includes “American Cox: The Unbearably Long, Self-Indulgent Director’s Cut”. However, since both cuts are on the same disc, I was unable to do a comparison. It is 24-minutes longer (clocking in at an astounding 120 minutes) and I watched it along with the commentary (more later).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Judd Apatow is shaping up as a competitor to Kevin Smith in the awesome DVD compilation arena. He includes hours of extras, more than you probably ever wanted for a movie like this. All features are presented in anamorphic widescreen.

DISC ONE:

American Cox: The Unbearably Long, Self-Indulgent Director’s Cut – I decided to include this among the special features. I didn’t watch it on its own, but since the theatrical version already felt a tad long at 96-minutes, this would’ve been far too much.

Feature Commentary – Co-writer/producer/director Jake Kasdan, co-writer/producer Judd Apatow, executive producer Lew Morton and star John C. Reilly join in for a good commentary, though it seems one overtakes the others (don’t know if it was Apatow or Morton). Reilly does some talking, and even though he doesn’t need to be prodded, I would’ve wanted to hear more from him. But as commentaries go, it’s a fine mix between informative trivia and on-set stories.

DISC TWO:

Full Song Performances (41:23) – 16 unedited songs from the film are included including video of the performance in the movie. Now fans of the song “Let’s Duet” (the funniest damn song I’ve ever heard) can watch it over and over.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (19:31) – The few scenes that did not make it back for the director’s cut can now be viewed here. Nothing great and they were excised for good reason. There are 9 in total.

Line-O-Rama (6:23) – Not the best of the “Lion-O-Rama” series, the one for The 40-Year-Old Virgin are the best, but these are still funny.

Tyler Nilson: A Cockumentary (5:57) – As if you wanted to really know, this featurette introduces you to actor Tyler Nilson, the man who showed his junk for all the world to see, and not quick shots either. Warning: there’s more from his penis here as well.

The Real Dewey Cox (14:04) and The Last Word with John Hodgman (25:58) are two mock-featurettes. “The Real Dewey Cox” features comments with the people who knew Dewey Cox as well as the man who plays him in the biopic, John C. Reilly. Guest celebrities and all around fans of Cox chime in (including Sheryl Crow, John Meyer and Jewel). “The Last Word”, hosted by John Hodgman (PC in those Mac commercials) interviews Dewey Cox’s friends and family as well Dewey Cox himself before his death, hence the title of the show, “The Last Word”, where celebrities do one last interview before they die.

The Music of Walk Hard (16:43) – This is a nice featurette which covers how the music was written and the search to find the right style of songs for the film.

The Making of Walk Hard (15:04) – Probably the most typical feature on this set, this featurette goes through the motions of talking with the cast and crew about how the movie was made as well as the casting decisions.

The disc also includes several short features: A Christmas Song from Dewey Cox (2:51), Cox Sausage Commercial with Outtakes (2:23), Song Demos (audio only) and Bull on the Loose (3:45), funny footage as a wild bull gets out of the penned area and goes on a minor rampage. Crew members recount the horrific encounter.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Director Kasdan utilizes some kind of bronze-like coloring on the film, to match the same styling as Walk the Line it seems. The picture looks crisp and clean with a 2.40 OAR (anamorphic widescreen). Black levels seem to be solid as well. The audio isn’t anything outstanding and I wouldn’t really expect a DTS track, but even with a musical spoof comedy, the music could’ve sounded a tad better, but overall it’s good enough. The tracks are offered in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 with English, French and Spanish subtitles.



.::OVERALL::.

Walk Hard: 2-Disc Unrated Widescreen Edition is a solid set with a good number of features one expects from a Judd Apatow production. The movie itself has its funny moments; though at times it isn’t laugh out loud funny but more chuckling than anything else. Time will tell if John C. Reilly is starring role material and while he gives a good performance, he seemed to at times channel the comedic mannerisms of Will Ferrell. But overall, it’s a good movie, and one that I wish the spoof genre would take after, if not just a little.