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Friday, December 28, 2007

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

What woman doesn’t love Dewey Cox? They may deny it because they want to seem all pure and innocent, but the truth is there isn’t a girl out there that hasn’t wanted to get her hands all over a few Dewey Cox by the time she is fifteen or sixteen. Let’s face it; it’s just human nature for a girl to want a bad boy. There’s something alluring about taking a walk on the wild side, and that means getting crazy with the first Dewey Cox she comes face-to-face with. I know I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve loved Dewey Cox all my life and always will.

Oh, these bad boys may have different names, but you know what I mean. They are guys like John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) plays in
Walk Tall: The Dewey Cox Story, the rebellious young man who lets his music move him to a spiritual and financial success as it turns him into a babe magnet to women everywhere. Dewey is the archetypical ‘50s rocker, and he is what every gal wanted and what every guy wanted to be.

What separates
Walk Tall: The Dewey Cox Story from other Academy Award winning bio-pics like Ray, Walk the Line, or even Coal Miner’s Daughter, is that this one is a total spoof, played for laughs and giggles all the way. There is no real life Dewey Cox in the annuals of music history, well at least not by that name. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of Dewey Cox in the music business though. Believe me. I grew up in LA and Las Vegas completely unsupervised (a whole other story) and I was surrounded by a plethora of Dewey Cox. In Vegas, when I was a teenager, I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoe without a couple of Dewey Cox lining up behind me, wanting my attention. They were usually amateurs, trying to get in the business, and were poking around, looking for an in somewhere. Some played guitars, some pianos, but most were just focused on their organs. That’s why you never hear about them today.

Our Dewey Cox, in the movie, begins as an eight year (Connor Rayburn of tv’s “According to Jim”) playing with his six year old brother, Nate (Chip Hormess; Transformers), a musical prodigy far beyond anyone’s
imagination. With Nate elaborately commenting on how great it is to be outside playing, having his whole, long life ahead of him, and then speculating on all the great things he plans to do with his long, long life ahead, since he has all the time in the world, you just know what childhood trauma is going to be scarring Dewey and turning him to a career singing the Blues.

The jump from eight to fourteen arrives with a jolt, especially since the filmmakers bring in doughy, middle-aged Reilly to play the teenaged version of Dewey at this point. Watching him interact with the decades-younger cast as one of their peers is funny just because he looks so out of place, but the scene turns even more ridiculous when Dewey and his teen girlfriend return home and he argues with his father Raymond J. Barry; Little Children) while his mother (Margo Martindale; Superheroes) frets nearby. Since all three are approximately the same age, the idea of Dewey standing up to his “Pa” seems absurd, but it begins his journey onward to fame and fortune since it results in Dewey picking up and leaving home in search of making a name for himself.

What follows includes about every cliché writers Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) and Jake Kasdan (The TV Set), who also directed, could think up. Dewey travels through the 1950s, ‘60s, ’70, ‘80s, ’90, and up to the present while skating across all genres of musical trends and wardrobes. Along the way he also discovers group sex, bigamy, drugs, rehab, alcohol, more rehab, cheesy television shows, prison, guilt, and eventually redemption.

The many vignettes that make up the gist of the movie are chock full of ridiculous (but good) songs, especially the salacious “Let’s Duet” that almost had me wishing I’d worn Depends™. Dewey’s band, made up of former “Saturday Night Live” regulars Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell and “Upright Citizen’s Brigade” denizen Matt Besser all get their brief moments to shine, especially Meadows as Dewey’s inadvertent introducer to new substances, but the real co-stars are Dewey’s two wives, Darlene (Jenna Fischer; tv’s “The Office”) and Edith (Kristin Wiig; currently of tv’s “Saturday Night Live”). Both women give stellar performances as the gals who can’t live with their rock god and can’t live without him, no matter how hard he makes things.

The big fun, though, is in looking for the many cameo appearances interspersed throughout the film. Since Apatow is “hot” right now, everybody in La La land loves him and wants to work with him. Hence, look for young Hollywood to pop up more often than Waldo. See if you can find Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Eddie Vedder, The Temptations, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Frankie Muniz, Ghostface Killah, Jewel, Justin Long, Jason Schwartzman, Jack White, Harold Ramis and David Krumholtz amongst others.

So far,
Walk Tall: The Dewey Cox Story hasn’t exactly been tearing up the box office, and that’s a shame. It really is a funny movie. It reminded me of the same kind of funny as Airplane! offered twenty five years ago. There are rapid-fire sight gags and subtle background jokes that a lot of people won’t even think about, like just how many kids can Edith crank out when Dewey is never home? It seems like every time he comes home she is pregnant and is also carrying a new baby in her arms. Is Dewey mailing his DNA home or what? Hmmmm?

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my night with Dewey Cox and would love it if all my nights were as full of as many laughs and the complete satisfaction Cox gave me in just two hours. What more can a gal ask for but a couple of hours a week having Cox tickling her funny bone?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am the brother of Dewey Cox come back to life - after my gory death by machete.

If that were not bad enough - Dewey Cox has been sending his underwear and chest hair in the mail to children around the world.

The Dewey Cox Must Die Posse is plotting revenge.

We have built a torture chamber - it will be revealed in PSA #3.

We have big plans for my brother before he meets his maker.

If you want to see more - go to:

60 second PSA #2:

60 second PSA#1

The Manifesto:

Our email: