John C. Reilly played Will Ferrell's sidekick in Talladega Nights, and stole the spotlight in most of their scenes together—a feat I'm sure helped earn him his own starring vehicle playing fictional folksy rocker Dewey Cox. Unfortunately, through very little fault of his own, Reilly's coming out party falls completely flat.
Dewey Cox is Johnny Cash, only stupider. After accidentally cutting his brother in half and being disowned by his father, Cox hits the road with his 12-year-old girlfriend. He reaches immediate stardom, rubbing elbows with the likes of Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and the Beatles, but gets strung out on every drug imaginable, changes his image each decade and ruins two marriages.
The script, co-written by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) and Jake Kasdan (Zero Effect), roams all over the place. Half the film is a direct parody of the 2005 Cash biopic Walk the Line, but there's a hearty mix of slapstick and gross-out moments. The best scenes are probably when Cox travels to India and meditates with John, Paul, George and Ringo, each played by a recognizable celebrity, and when Cox sings a duet with a June Carter wannabe (Jenna Fischer). It seems director Kasdan may have wanted an over-the-top, Ferrell-ish performance from his star, and he got one, but with a less than stellar script and a rather boring execution, the movie assembles only a moderate amount of laughs and should be a disappointment for fans of Apatow's late string of hit comedies.
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