RT Checks Out Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Prepare to rock out with your...well, you know....

by | November 7, 2007 | Comments

Last month, Sony Pictures invited Rotten Tomatoes down to
Los Angeles for a little taste of Cox.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox
Story
, starring
John C. Reilly
as a musician that goes through every affliction known to threaten artists,
looks to complete a 2007 triple-hitter (along with
Knocked Up
and
Superbad
) for
producer Judd
Apatow
. Read on for our press conference recap and impressions of the
December comedy.

We arrived at the Walk Hard event to find a
reception room filled with the props that populated Walk Hard: guitars,
teen magazines, and some the albums that spanned the career of the great Dewey
Cox: It’s A Dewey Cox Teenager Party, Hey Neat!, Sir Ringe the
Marshmallow Elephant
, Strawberry Foxglove!, These Are My Issues,
and Rox Out Cox Out. It’s a miniature sample from a movie whose only goal
is to be as comprehensively irreverent as possible.

First to be introduced was co-writer/director Jake Kasdan
and co-writer/producer Apatow, with Reilly joining later. The two showed four
clips from the film. The first clip was the opening sequence: Dewey as a child
playing with his younger bother in the countryside. The absurdly idyllic
playtime is broken when his brother meets his untimely demise during an
ill-advised machete fight. Dewey takes the devastation of this tragedy and hones
it into a musical talent. Sound familiar?


Fast forward several years for the next clip. After a
performance opening for Elvis (Jack
White
), Dewey finds his way backstage where there a crowd encourages him to
partake in smoking marijuana. After Dewey’s drummer (Tim
Meadows
) character goes into a lengthy spiel artfully naming all of the
reasons why one shouldn’t smoke marijuana, Dewey is convinced to try it.
Throughout the movie, Dewey will apparently not only do every drug known to
mankind, but he will subsequently kick the habit of every drug.

Jenna Fischer
was featured in the next clip as Darlene, singing onstage with Dewey. The
scene’s comedy derives from the sexual innuendo between the two as they sing
their hit, "Let’s Duet" (properly pronounced "Let’s Do It"). Let your
imagination run free. I guarantee what you come up with is nowhere near as funny
as what they managed, and it’s a perfect representation of Walk Hard‘s
brand of comedy.

The final clip showed Dewey’s exploration of Hinduism with
the Beatles. The Fab Four (Jack
Black
, Justin
Long
, Paul Rudd,
and Jason
Schwartzman
) bicker amongst themselves whilst trying to open Dewey up to
acid. With a little help from his friend, he takes the drug, and goes down a
wildly bad acid trip.

After the clips, the floor opened up to Kasdan, Apatow, and
Reilly. The highlight: while Walk Hard‘s MPAA rating is still unknown,
Apatow warned the crowd about something that might not past muster within PG-13
territory — an extended scene involving a penis, which Apatow jokingly revealed
was his. Kasdan and Apatow acknowledged that
The
Rutles
and
Spinal Tap

were both major influences, but made it a point that the movie is less a spoof
on musical artists than a satire on the biopic genre.

Throughout the conference, the trio pushed the quality of
the music. Thirty-five songs (thirty of them originals) were recorded during the
four months leading up to the Walk Hard shoot. Reilly noted that the
style of the movie and his character was discovered during these sessions.

"[They] acted as a sort of tone-all blueprint for when we
started the movie with all the music we already had," Reilly said.




 

Despite Walk Hard‘s farcical attitude, Kasdan
and company were aware the music had to work as legitimately compelling stuff.
They assembled a small collective of musical talents to pen the thirty original
songs, including New Wave popster
Marshall
Crenshaw
(who wrote the title track),
Michael
Andrews
(he orchestrated popular "Mad World" cover for the
Donnie
Darko
soundtrack), cult singer/songwriters Dan Bern and Charlie Wadhams,
and Mike Viola (who voiced the catchy title ditty from
Tom Hanks‘s
That Thing You Do!
).

After unleashing his inner musician in
Chicago
, Reilly
jumped at the chance to get back in a recording studio. The other actors took a
similarly enthusiastic approach: not only did everyone in Dewey’s backup band
have to learn how to play the songs, in some cases, they had to first learn
their instruments. Tim Meadows, for example, didn’t know how to play the drums
before shooting and had to quickly pick them up.

Reilly enthuses that "[the] music alone stands as a great
achievement," which will be anthologized in the cheekily-titled soundtrack,
The Box of Cox
. It’s going to be an extended double-disc collection, and
will hit stores sometime before
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox
Story
‘s
scheduled release on December 21.

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