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'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story'

A fair-to-middlin' spoof of the Ray/Walk the Line/Coal Miner's Daughter brand of country-music biopics, Walk Hard has a truly hilarious score and a somewhat wayward way with gags.

All the familiar tropes of the genre are here — a hardscrabble childhood marked by family tragedy (a machete accident in a barn), a sudden rise to fame followed by every kind of misfortune (drugs, affairs, a misplaced monkey). But of course: You've gotta have misfortune to build a country song.

John C. Reilly is goofy fun as Dewey Cox, a somewhat too-easily influenced dork whose musical stylings vary with whomever he's heard last. He hears Bob Dylan, or David Bowie, or Billy Joel, and suddenly his songs sound just like theirs, only with lyrics that are just a touch, um, riper.

Walk Hard was written by Judd (Knocked Up) Apatow, who never met a double entendre he couldn't work variations on, and the musical parodies are uproarious (Reilly does all his own singing). The non-musical jesting, though, veers a little too close to the scattershot style of Airplane and The Naked Gun. Apatow's always on firmer footing when he squeezes a little emotion into the mix — and The Office's Jenna Fischer, as Dewey's fiercely prudish sweetheart, helps in that department.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.