A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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).
- Parents say
- Kids say
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
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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