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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.94%
Worth A Look: 22.22%
Average: 6.94%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap41.67%

4 reviews, 48 user ratings

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Dukes of Hazzard, The
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by Erik Childress

"If The Lizard Ain’t Broken, Don’t Fix It"
4 stars

Television shows jumping to the big screen are already skating by on a rather flimsy concept. But few are flimsier for that leap than The Dukes of Hazzard, a show which I watched every Friday night with the folks and to this day remember little more than the cast names, a jumping car and a pair of legs which would have catapulted me into early puberty if Wonder Woman hadn’t gotten to me first. I remember a Dukes card game I used to play with my grandparents more than I do a single episode; mostly because it was pretty much all the same – mischief, chases, shorts and a memorable theme song. As a big screen translation, even those involved have gone on record that they didn’t have much to work with. So they kept it simple, treating it like just another two-parter episode and injecting enough solid laughs and car chases to make Dukes precisely what it is – an uncomplicated Friday night distraction.

Bo & Luke Duke (Seann William Scott & Johnny Knoxville) are the infamous cousins who run a moonshine business with their Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson). They are constantly running afoul of the authorities and the big, bad businessman of Hazzard County, Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). When their beloved General Lee isn’t getting them out of a scrape, they call in the big guns with cousin Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson) shaking her ass(ets) to form a distraction of inhumanly hot proportions. “That’s why we love you,” says Uncle Jesse as any heterosexual male over the age of two should admit.

It’s absolutely impossible for this film to ride the coattails of its storyline for entertainment, but our skepticism turns to hope early on with Bo’s choice to listen to an Al Unser Jr. book-on-tape read by Laurence Fishburne. That’s the kind of bizarro humor that can save any comedy and with the director of the Broken Lizard features at the helm (Jay Chandrasekhar) we’re peaked to discover what else he may have up his sleeve. Chandrasekhar brought along his fellow Lizards for cameos and between Kevin Heffernan’s tighty-whitey-clad hick (whose conversation about a Chinese fuse is a highlight) and a blatant-but-hysterical homage to Super Troopers, we may as well have called it Broken Lizard’s The Dukes of Hazzard.

We must, nevertheless, look at Mr. Chandrasekhar’s skills behind the camera because I suspect without him, even a mild recommendation of the film wouldn’t be within striking distance. Super Troopers may have just been a lark designed for the sole intent of delivering laugh-after-laugh (however unsuccessfully) and introducing the world to the next Monty Python/Kids-in-the-Hall wannabes. In Club Dread, he revealed a sure hand at telling a story (no matter how ridiculous) with a keen eye and confident straight face towards how to do a satire of the horror genre. Dukes doesn’t reach to its heights, but he still upstages a no-talent like Todd Phillips who couldn’t find the humor in last year’s Starsky & Hutch even with a built-in compass of a cast (Stiller, Wilson, Vaughn, etc…)

And who knew in the summer of 2005 that I would be able to say (with mucho confidence) that Chandrasekhar knows how to shoot a chase sequence better than Michael Bay. Jay relaxes his camera where Bay shuttles it around like a epileptic on Ritalin. We’re not talking Bullitt or Ronin here, but Chandrasekhar keeps the camera (mostly) at a safe distance and produces some solid stunts and a nearly all-pursuit third act that keeps us involved as we waver in how much we are actually enjoying the film.

Playing it close to the vest might not have been the most audacious approach to the material in this age of anachronistic Brady Bunch flicks and whatever the hell Bewitched was supposed to be, but there are some nice touches to appease both critical camps. The whole “South will rise again” implication by the name and imprinted flag on the Dodge Charger gets its due in a very funny scene. They may have jettisoned going with the early 80s setting, but it’s amusing to watch a South that still revels in NASCAR, homemade liquor and hasn’t progressed past cassette players. Nelson doesn’t do more than recite dirty jokes and Reynolds is given even less. (Not even the “goo-goo-goo” capper to each week’s show gets a spin.) But Knoxville and Scott have enough fun and you’ll even spot a few chops from Simpson if you’re not distracted too terribly.

You may have heard about Ben Jones’ complaints about this translation being overly vulgar and destroying the wholesome family qualities that the CBS series could muster by turning an article of clothing into a sexual metaphor and placing “Cooter comin’ at ya” into the national lexicon. Sorry you didn’t get offered a role, Ben, but this Dukes is actually rather tame and would have no problem fitting into the early 80s censor borders, let alone in the racier 2005. In fact, the PG-13 gets pushed further during the credit outtakes with some “Jackass”-like behavior from Knoxville and a moment from the immortal Joe Don Baker that I would love to see on an AFI highlight reel. Chandrasekhar, like Joe Don, may never live to see such a glorious day but they can take solace in succeeding where most would have stumbled.

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originally posted: 08/05/05 14:42:37
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User Comments

5/23/12 keith miron Not enough Jessica Simpson 2 stars
2/28/07 Beau After seeing this a part of my life had been stolen 4ever. terrible performance by simpson 1 stars
11/23/06 Austin Wertman ONE OF THE WORST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN 1 stars
10/04/06 Abs I just wasted 2hrs of my life only see this movie if you're salivating over jessica 1 stars
8/14/06 Sharon OMFG you guys are all movie retarded!! this was an AWSOME movie!! johnny knoxville=SEXY!!!! 5 stars
7/08/06 Anthony Feor The idiots of movie-making 1 stars
4/22/06 Jack The most lame and stupid thing I've ever seen 1 stars
2/11/06 Nick The best movie ever made 5 stars
2/03/06 JT awesome!! whats evry one complaining about? 5 stars
1/25/06 LP Quagmire Jessica Simpson makes this a must-see. 4 stars
12/12/05 Butterbean This was a fun movie. Much like the TV series. I don't think these people really seen it. 4 stars
12/08/05 Jeff Anderson JUNK! Need I say more. I'd rather have my head dipped in toxic waste than watch this again! 1 stars
10/09/05 Arse Poet Better than I expected, but I was expecting to die of suckfulness half way through. 3 stars
10/07/05 Wisamane The dukes of shit....need i say more? 1 stars
9/16/05 Jonathon Holmes Jessica's smokin hot body can't save this train wreck 2 stars
9/13/05 bbbr sexy jessica simpson 3 stars
9/02/05 Pandora The best acting in the whole movie was by the General Lee. Sad. 1 stars
8/26/05 Pat bishop Only thing in common with the original is the charger.Terrible movie... 1 stars
8/25/05 jimgrigsby awful horrid bad use of a battle flag etc. 1 stars
8/24/05 Lisa Smith Jessica Simpson has a poop stain on her pink bikini bottom, it's true !! 1 stars
8/18/05 Madeira SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: May be Hazzard-ous to your health. 1 stars
8/17/05 ES Its jackass the movie two! Wrapped in a Duke's motif and a confederate flag= stinky garbage 1 stars
8/15/05 KCobain Garbage. Another crappy remake. 1 stars
8/14/05 michaelb14 Pretty much as expected, it had a few laughs, definitely a matinee flick, overall.......... 3 stars
8/13/05 TSEliot Scott's "Stiffler" and Knoxville's "Jackass" are awful casts for the real Bo and Luke. 1 stars
8/13/05 William Vollmer not a great TV show-an even worse movie 1 stars
8/10/05 George W Bush Duhh... I liked it. Mainly because I'm a moron. 1 stars
8/10/05 Steve Michaud Guaranteed to kill more brain cells than a jar of Uncle Jesse's moonshine 1 stars
8/09/05 Chris Dumb empty and pointless and Repulsivly bad acting by Jessica "no talent" Simpson 1 stars
8/09/05 Jerry Uncle Jesse is rolling in his grave. The director needs his butt kicked! 1 stars
8/08/05 Glen Harris That movie rocks i dont care what other people say jessica was hot and the movie was funny 5 stars
8/08/05 yomomma A masterpiece of guargantuan proportions! Or not! 3 stars
8/08/05 negation I give it a sucks rating. 1 stars
8/08/05 Jimmy The movie was OK, but nothing like the original. 3 stars
8/08/05 Steven C Some funny thnig happen 4 stars
8/08/05 Kristina Williams Who expected it to be good? WHO?! 1 stars
8/08/05 MarkJ I am now stupider for having seen this movie. 1 stars
8/07/05 Christian Horrible, who told Jessica Simpson she could act? 1 stars
8/07/05 Scott Ruined the Dukes!! Everyone was out of character. Ended with Uncle Jesse getting high. 1 stars
8/07/05 Halo Utter nonsense. 1 stars
8/06/05 Peter Griffin Are you happy now? I have cancer, thanks to your movie ;) Jessica was cute tho... 1 stars
8/06/05 Roy Smith Harm was done, wheither it was meant or not. Depressing. 2 stars
8/06/05 Littleme Quite simply the worst movie of the year. 1 stars
8/06/05 Greg Ursic STupid, but I laughed nonetheless 2 stars
8/06/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Pathetic, sad, worse than the tv show, if possible. 1 stars
8/06/05 saoud 4 stars
8/06/05 Jin Its no wonder people aren't going to the theater anymore. 1 stars
8/05/05 kumsal21 dswd 5 stars
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  05-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Dec-2005



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