Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Out Now On-Demand

Life made him tough. Love made him strong. Music made him hard.

A spoof of every music film from The Doors to Walk The Line, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Anchorman) brings us the story of Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), a struggling blues musician who makes it big, has troubles with the missus, ignores his kids, goes on a spiritual journey with the Beatles, and does all the stuff that guitar-strumming heroes usually do. The star-studded comedy features Jack White (The White Stripes) as Elvis Presley, Jason Schwartzman as Ringo Starr and Paul Rudd as John Lennon.


Directed by

Written by


  • Judd Apatow('The 40 Year Old Virgin', tv's 'Freaks And Geeks')

Comedy, Music


Rating: R13 Drug Use, Offensive Language & Sexual Themes



Turns out your worst fears (by which your correspondent means, his own worst fears) were unfounded: this movie actually does have more than two jokes. While those two jokes – “‘Cox’ sounds like ‘cocks’, doesn’t it?” and “Walk the Line was overrated and pompous, wasn’t it?” – get their fair share of play, Walk Hard is, in fact, more than just a Hot Shots! to Walk the Line’s Top Gun.

While there’s a complement of elbow-to-the-gut referentiality, it’s fleeting. Luckily: referential humour may be the lasting influence of comedy gold from Blazing Saddles to The Simpsons, but it’s also the stock-in-trade of hacks from les freres Wayans to Meet the Spartans.

Walk Hard is on much steadier ground when its target is wide: hagiographical biopics en masse are far more skilfully lampooned than any particular pic. (Yes, Reilly-parodying-Phoenix-impersonating-Cash is that rare simulacrum that surpasses the quality of its target – but to dwell would be smug).

When a scene is obligatory the movie has the good sense to play it as such, but with class. It’s the inversion of the spoof-movie norm: bad parodies play serious lines for laughs, where Walk Hard plays sly meta-comedy like it’s serious drama. This winking respect for trope may be what qualifies it for inclusion alongside, say, Flying High! rather than consignment to the pile alongside, say, Epic Movie.

It never reaches the giddy pathos of A Mighty Wind, and in the final analysis, it’s basically a hundred-minute riff on the episode of The Simpsons where Homer had a barbershop quartet and he met George Harrison.

But to remain funny, and quotable, and not without warmth or quality showmanship, all while borrowing a premise from the show that set the high-water mark for most all of those things? A fella could do worse.



There’s a certain emotion, thanks largely to the humanity of Reilly, one of our best supporting actors graduating to star status, finally bound for glory.

Empire [UK]


John C Reilly just about holds together a funny but patchy comedy that puts a ten-megaton bomb under the cliched rock biopic – and never detonates it.

Guardian [UK]


Hollywood's comedy king Judd Apatow has sadly brought his B-game to this moderate spoof.

Los Angeles Times


Walk Hard also benefits from being written for the exceptional John C. Reilly, one of the few serious dramatic actors who has a true gift for comedy. And he can sing, too, 15 monumental spoofs, as clever as they are melodic, that cover the musical waterfront from rockabilly to punk and include one last riff after the final credits roll.

New York Daily News


This kind of parody is hard to sustain for an hour and a half, and "Walk Hard" does gets wearying at times. But the humor is so outrageous, the original music so much fun and Reilly so good - both while hamming it up in the role and in singing the songs - that it's irresistible.

Variety [USA]


Strums the genre for considerable laughs, with John C. Reilly playing the title balladeer from teen to senior citizen, generating enough goodwill to offset the flat sections and a decidedly juvenile streak.

Village Voice [USA]


This burlesque of biopic clichés flounders from one setup to the next without the engine that drives the genre: a strong central character.

This should of burned in a flaming ring of fire

What could have been a truly funny film taking of Johnny Cash turned out to be a real waste of time and effort should have left this idea on the shelf




Good for a spoof.

This is funny, a few times laugh out loud. And John C. Reilly is real likeable.

But spoofs are boring. I reckon this would be better if they ditched all the homage/spoof stuff and just made a comedy about a musician. I find the spoof aspect predictable. The film ends in an annoyingly sappy way also.

But considering all that, pretty good.





The guy who wrote Knocked Up wrote this and it shows. This has much of the same sort of understated humour in it. I don't want to ruin the surprises by mentioning my favourites, so I won't, but there's a lot of them. Suffice to say if you're a music fan, you'll love this.