Comedies released in winter just aren’t as raucous. That warm-hearted holiday spirit seems to infect even the most cynical screenwriter. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as terminally ill patients — you don’t get more heartwarming than that. Which is not to say there aren’t laughs. This winter, John C. Reilly has a chance to become a breakout comedy star. Michael Cera shows that “Superbad” was no fluke, and Jack Black makes two off-beat choices that show he can’t be shoved into the Will Ferrell box.
“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”Starring: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Kristen WiigDirector: Jake KasdanStory: This “Walk the Line” satire, which also pokes fun at films like “Ray” and “The Doors,” tells the story of Dewey Cox (Reilly), a musician whose songs changed the nation. Spanning six decades, the story includes a tragic childhood, an unhappy marriage and a June Carter-like love interest (Fischer). White Stripes rocker Jack White appears as Elvis Presley; Paul Rudd plays John Lennon; Jason Schwartzman is Ringo Starr; Justin Long appears as George Harrison.Buzz: The man with the magic touch, Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”) is a co-writer on this one, which means it may be the best bet for a laugh-out-loud winter comedy. Considering the formulaic nature of music biopics (even the good ones), there’s a lot of material here. This isn’t director Kasdan’s (“Orange County”) first time working with Apatow. He directed episodes of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” Web site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/walkhard/Release date: Dec. 21