The parody subgenre once gave us comedy classics like Young Frankenstein, Airplane!, Top Secret!, and The Naked Gun. This glorious tradition has been disgracefully violated in recent years by the likes of the cleverly titled Epic Movie and Date Movie. (As for the latter -- a spoof of comedies? Outstanding idea!)Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a parody of musical biopics like Walk the Line and Ray, marks the pretty damn triumphant return of the spoof film. The movie also marks the return ofJudd Apatow, and I'm pleased to report that Walk Hard completes a 2007 hat trick for the man. It easily joins Knocked Up and Superbad to form the unholy trinity of the year's superior comedies.

Starting in fictional rock star Dewey Cox's boyhood Tennessee home and ending some sixty years later after his bouts with women, booze, and pills, the film traces the blood pumping rise...of Cox. (First and last Cox joke, I promise.) The script gets Cox making music quickly, and good thing. I'm not sure why the first ten minutes of Walk Hard were released online as part of the marketing plan, they're easily the weakest scenes of the film. But once John C. Reilly enters the picture, portraying Cox at age fourteen despite being 25 years older (a dig at Kevin Spacey in Beyond the Sea?), it's pretty much smooth sailing.