The Dukes of Hazzard
With a mediocre '80s TV show about two good ole Southern boys, an orange car with a Confederate flag on top of it and some pretty short shorts as its inspiration, I hope you aren't expecting too much from this big-screen version. If you are, you'll be disappointed. Whooowheeee! The Dukes of Hazzard is one dumb movie.
Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) Duke are cousins--two hell-raisers who drive fast, sell moonshine and bed sexy farm girls all across Georgia's Hazzard County. They've got another cousin, Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson), a drop-dead hottie who waits tables at the local watering hole. If someone gets a little too friendly with the gal, she's knocks 'em on their ass--and if her cousins get into trouble, she shakes hers to get them out of it. Then there's Uncle Jesse Duke (Willie Nelson), who makes the moonshine on his farm, tells bad jokes and sings country-western songs. I can't quit thinking about how the Duke family dynamics work. They're all tight-knit cousins, right? But Uncle Jesse isn't the father to any of them. So, like, where's the rest of the Dukes? There's gotta be other siblings, parents, maybe. It perplexes me. But I digress. Suffice to say, the Dukes are always outrunning--and out-jumping--the local law enforcement in their souped-up Dodge Charger, the General Lee. The boys are also constantly doing battle with the crooked county commissioner Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds), who cooks up one nefarious plan after another to make Hazzard County his own personal cash cow, only to be thwarted by those darn Dukes. Dagnabbit.
Although some diehard fans of the TV show may disagree, the casting for this feature film redo is pretty spot on. Knoxville and Scott do just fine as the rip-roarin' Duke cousins, bantering about, one upping each other--you know, boys stuff. Nelson's still got the whole pigtail thing going for him but he looks like he's having a good time. Reynolds does, too, but he's definitely a lot slicker--and a lot better looking--than the show's original Boss Hogg, Sorrell Booke. As the bumbling police, veteran character actor M.C. Gainey, who always plays bad guys, at least gets to show off some comedy chops as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. Michael Weston (Garden State), as the wimpy Deputy Enos Strate, is sufficiently reduced to a puddle whenever Daisy is around. And then there's Simpson. My, my, my. It's obvious the camera (and whose ever behind it) loves every inch of her, and she tends to light up the screen whenever she's on it. Of course, playing Daisy in her acting debut isn't much of a stretch, but Simpson still shows a comic flair. The singer-turned-actress could actually become a fairly serviceable comedic actress if she plays her cards right.
This is what director Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers) had to say about making The Dukes of Hazzard: ''I had a poster of Daisy Duke [played in the original show by Catherine Bach] on my wall when I was nine that was very inspiring, and when you combine the prospect of a new Daisy Duke with the opportunity to send the General Lee flying through the air again, it was impossible for me to say no.'' Well, Jay, actually, you could have said no, and maybe the whole Hazzard as a feature idea would have gone away. It's perfectly suitable to have a television show be about nothing but cars flying through the air, hot women in skimpy clothes and idiotic behavior. We'll always accept brain-friendly crap on TV. But to be subjected to an entire feature-length film of mindless stupidity is just too much, at least in Hazzard's case. Sure, watching the General Lee perform seemingly impossible stunts is fun. Apparently, 28 Dodge Chargers had to be converted into the multiple General Lees needed for the film, and the parts had to be hunted down on the Internet, in junkyards or by word of mouth. Still, after about the 100th time the car jumps over something, you've had quite enough.
I guess if you were a fan of the TV show, this foolhardy Dukes of Hazzard upgrade may appeal to your baser senses. Or it could just remind you how ridiculous it was the show ran for six seasons in the first place.