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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (R) ***

By Kristy Lemire

Judd Apatow can do no wrong, apparently. Even in taking on a genre parody, the comic mastermind behind Knocked Up and Superbad manages to find fresh laughs again and again. 

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a take-off on the music biopic, hits all the familiar conventions we’ve seen in overly earnest movies like Ray and Walk the Line and even La Vie en Rose. 

The marginally talented country rocker Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) comes from humble beginnings and experiences tragedy early — his brother’s death, which haunts him into adulthood. He marries his childhood sweetheart and eventually fulfills his dreams of music stardom through sheer heart and grit. 

Along the way, of course, he gets hooked on and quits every drug imaginable, has countless wives and children and hangs out with legends like the Beatles, Buddy Holly and Elvis. (The cameos for these roles are classic, and the less you know about them going in, the better.) 

But what keeps the movie giddy and buoyant is Reilly, a comic actor who can break your heart with his underdog sweetness, and who isn’t afraid to go to the goofiest places possible for the big laughs. 

Apatow, Kasdan and Co. clearly have affection for this character, and for this sort of movie. They toss in all the clichés you’d expect. 

That doesn’t mean Walk Hard ever goes easy on you. Like Knocked Up and Superbad, it’ll make you laugh so hard your face will hurt.