WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY
AMERICAN COX: THE UNBEARABLY LONG, SELF-INDULGENT DIRECTOR'S CUT
**½/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B+
starring John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig
screenplay by Judd Apatow & Jake Kasdan
directed by Jake Kasdan
by Bill Chambers In a recent magazine profile, Judd Apatow blamed the box-office failure of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (hereafter Walk Hard) on its opening-weekend competition, National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I could definitely see the combination of those movies hoarding the demographic spectrum, but I'd like to propose a different theory: I think that Walk Hard bombed because the laser precision with which it mercilessly dissects singer-songwriter biopics ultimately shamed audiences for falling for their literalminded epiphanies (see: Reese Witherspoon's June Carter telling Joaquin Phoenix's Johnny Cash that he's unable to "walk the line"), Freudian claptrap, and whitewashed characterizations in the first place. The picture drips with contempt--not for the individuals who inspire these celluloid monuments (as I had initially feared), but for the institutionalized paradigm into which the lives of artists as disparate as Cash, Ray Charles, and Bobby Darin could each be comfortably slotted. For the middlebrow establishment, Walk Hard is the equivalent of getting teased for complimenting the emperor on his new wardrobe.