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Dewey Cox live!

| December 12, 2007 | 0 Comments

Dewey Cox
Cubby Bear, Chicago
Thursday, December 6, 2007

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South Side native and Brother Rice graduate John C. Reilly is a rock star. This designation may confuse anyone familiar with the Academy Award nominee’s past appearances in Chicago, Boogie Nights, and The River Wild because Reilly resembles Fozzy Bear more than Elvis. But, as Dewey Cox in Judd Apatow’s musical biopic spoof Walk Hard (set for a December 21st theatrical release), Reilly struts, prances, and swivels his pelvis like a practiced hell raiser.

And to prove his musical ability is not just the stuff of movie magic, Reilly and a veritable four-piece backing band, The Hard Walkers, are taking the film on the road, figuratively and literally. Following screenings of the risqué comedy, Reilly takes the stage dressed in his most Dylanesque matching three-piece suit, complete with silver buckles running down his pant legs, and performs songs from the film’s soundtrack completely in character.

Billed as the Cox Across America Tour, Reilly hit his hometown on the second date of these unique promotional appearances at the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville Thursday night. To the delight of the packed house, including members of his Irish Catholic family and alumni from his DePaul University alma mater, Reilly strapped on an acoustic guitar and plowed through a set filled with Dewey Cox’s politically incorrect “greatest hits” such as the sexual innuendo-laden “Let’s Duet” (“In my dreams, you’re blowin’ me . . . some kisses”) and the pro-midget protest song “Let Met Hold You (Little Man).”

In between the countrified ditties, Reilly showcased his comedic chops and wooed females in the front row by seductively pulling scarlet chiffon scarves from his crotch and flailing them into the grasping hands of screaming women. Were these fans enthusiastically going along with the charade or do they really lust after Reilly’s shirtless, water-spritzed self? While hard to tell amid the evening’s fanfare, Reilly admirably played it off as truth, shaking his self-described “badonkadonk” at every available turn. Before the first encore he characteristically quipped, “I’m glad to see the moustache is still popular in Chicago,” and after putting on a note-for-note imitation of Dylan’s nasal phrasing during “Royal Jelly,” he scathingly remarked, “You’re a liar. I don’t believe you” to no one in particular. Sadly, Reilly didn’t then tell the band to “Play it fucking loud.”

The film’s title track boomed through the sound system as if Johnny Cash himself came down from heaven to show the fictional Cox a thing or two, and Reilly conjured up Amy Winehouse’s demons on a fitting cover of the downward-spiraling singer’s hit “Rehab.” While Cox probably won’t bring Reilly a shiny little gold man, this experiment shows he can hold his own as a leading man, albeit one with an overpowering alter ego.

— Janine Schaults

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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