Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Jake Kasdan, 2007): Everything about Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is just begging for me to love it- a script by Judd Apatow, impressive performances from John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer and it's parody of musical biopics- but, more often than not, the film ended up bugging me more than amusing me. My main problem was the beginning which, instead of finding a subtler way to mock Walk the Line and Ray, it hits the audience over the head with all the references in a way that makes the later installments of Scary Movie seem sly and clever. I mean, couldn't they have found a better way to kill the "good" son than with a machete? Thankfully, as Dewey Cox becomes famous the film finds its stride with the dead on parodies; the innuendo-laden "Let's Duet," the bad-ass outlaw song "Guilty as Charged," the protest song "Dear Mr. President," and the nonsensical Dylan parody "Royal Jelly" are all highlights. Walk Hard also gets bonus points for the cameos of Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd and Jason Schwartzman as the Fab Four- that scene was utterly hilarious.
Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007): I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried about the beginning of Jason Reitman's follow-up to last year's Thank You For Smoking, Juno. That phone conversation between Juno (Ellen Page) and Leah (Olivia Thirlby) in which one of them actually utters "Honest to blog?" was a little disconcerting and had me worried about the rest of the film. Fortunately for the film (and Diablo Cody's script) it eases back a little bit and the actors all make it work. Ellen Page is a revelation as the pregnant Juno, her cynicism and quick wit masking a needy girl, and Jennifer Garner finally proved to me what an amazing actress she is- that scene in the mall where she talks to Juno's baby in the womb trying to get it to kick was heartbreaking. And let me just add that Allison Janney totally stole every scene she was in as Juno's take-no-prisoners step-mother (leading Juno to proclaim at one point, "Wow Bren- you's a dick!"
Walk Hard ***
Juno **** 1/2