A finely observed mockery of stale Hollywood music biographies, Walk Hard is most pointed in its parody of the two most recent overrated biopics: Ray and Walk The Line. I have taken issue with those two movies in this blog before, and I was supremely pleased to see someone with a camera and a budget address my grievances on the big screen.
But is it funny? The biopic jokes are snarkily funny, and the music jokes are nudge-nudge funny, but the movie doesn't bust a gut the way the best of Will Ferrell's do. I was holding this movie up to the standard set by Will Ferrell in his similar movies Anchorman and Talladega Nights. John C. Reilly's fantastic performance as Ricky Bobby's sycophantic sidekick driver in Talladega Nights proved that he could carry his own movie. He is very funny, sings well, and nails the characterization perfectly. I don't know the cause of the weakness in the laughs? The cast is packed with great talent: Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows, and Chris Parnell are all superb. I was a little underwhelmed by Jenna Fischer. My friend Mandy pointed out that she doesn't lend any of her own personality or humor to the role of Darlene Madison, the virtuous singer whom Cox romances. She played the part on the page note for note, but there was more potential there which should have been realized.
I am going to lay the blame on second-generation movie director Jake Kasdan. I was singularly underwhelmed by his movies Orange County and The TV Set. Kasdan, age 33, is the son of Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Big Chill).