Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Raunchy biopic parody isn't for younger teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There are a few jokes/stereotypes about African Americans, dirty dancing, and Jewish people controlling the music business (for example, the record-company executives are Hasidic men). As his fame grows, so does Dewey's appetite for drugs and women. He cheats on his wife, is mean to his band, and doesn't want to take care of his kids. But in the end, he comes to his senses.
Positive Role Models
In this satiric musical biography (hello Walk the Line) Dewey Cox does all sorts of things that are bad, wrong, and just plain stupid, but he comes through and returns to his senses. Regardless, Dewey's story, in its entirety, is probably not one you'd want your kid reenacting. Especially the part with the monkey.
Violence & Scariness
A boy gets split in half by a machete, but the scene is played for laughs -- no screaming or blood spatter.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several close-ups of a penis and shots of topless women in the apparent aftermath of group sex. Lots of tongue kissing, flirting, and discussion of/singing about sex (heavy double entendre in some lyrics). Teenage girls open their shirts to show their bras to Dewey. A couple dances erotically at a nightclub.
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Lots of "f--k"s, as well as "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "c--t," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Jewel, and Eddie Vedder pop up as themselves.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
High-school girls smoke cigarettes at a talent show. Dewey is introduced to stronger and stronger drugs -- marijuana, cocaine, PCP, acid, and even Viagra -- by his bandmate.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like most comedies produced by Judd Apatow, this spoof of music biopics is a pretty hard-R affair. There's full-frontal male nudity (including at least three close-ups of male genitalia), several shots of bare-breasted women, and lots of sexual innuendo. The main character is introduced to (and takes) almost every kind of drug -- pot, pills, acid, cocaine, you name it. There are also several off-color Jewish jokes (about them running showbiz, for instance), African-American stereotypes, and plenty of strong language. A few violent scenes are played for laughs (including two that show people who've been sliced in half by a machete).
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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
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What's the Story?
A send-up of musical biopics Ray and Walk the Line, WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY tells the hard-knock, rags-to-riches story of musician Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), who's story should seem familiar. Dewey is haunted by his young brother's death and loses his sense of smell but still manages to become a successful singer. He struggles to suppress his love for back-up singer Darlene (Jenna Fischer), who doesn't want to fool around with a married man. Dewey changes drastically with each decade as his career rises and falls. He sings in prisons and on the same stage as Elvis and Buddy Holly in the '50s, drops acid with the Beatles in the '60s, and hosts a laughable variety show in the '70s.
Is It Any Good?
Even when they're directed by someone else, Judd Apatow-produced movies have the same raunchy but still earnest feel. In Walk Hard, director Jake Kasdan takes up the "genre spoofer" mantle to poke fun at Hollywood's love affair with musical biopics. And if you don't mind close-ups of genitalia and Jewish jokes (apparently they're it's OK because the director is Jewish...), the movie will definitely make you laugh.
Reilly, who sings all the fake Cox tunes, is surprisingly good as the troubled singer. And the supporting comedians -- Fischer and SNL veterans Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows, and Chris Parnell, to name a few -- are all pros whose comedy skills shouldn't be underestimated. Walk Hard isn't a comedic masterpiece by any stretch, but in the vein of Anchorman and Superbad, it's the kind of laughfest that grows on you, even though parts are quite stupid. And after the credits roll, don't be surprised if you leave the theater singing "Walk Hard."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the movie pokes fun at straightforward biopics like Ray and Walk the Line. What Hollywood "formula" for telling musicians' life stories does the comedy make fun of?
Is it on target? How are musicians typically portrayed in the media? Kids: Do you think all famous rock stars live like Dewey Cox?
What parts do you think are exaggerated for laughs?
Families can also discuss the "return" of the R-rated comedy. Do the raunchy bits make movies like this funnier, or do they go overboard?
- In theaters: December 20, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: April 7, 2008
- Cast: Jenna Fischer, John C. Reilly, Tim Meadows
- Director: Jake Kasdan
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
- Last updated: January 9, 2023
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