The Dukes of Hazzard


My childhood has been raped! Jay Chandrasekhar of Broken Lizard has created a monstrosity of a remake. First off, he completley miscast and miswrote all of the characters. Bo and Luke Duke are played by the dumb and dumber version of today's actors; Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville respectively. Boss Hogg is supposed to be a fat, bald-headed slob that pouts and nearly breaks down in tears when his plans are foiled. Burt Reynolds? No. Roscoe P. Coltrane has been transformed into a bad-ass cop with police brutality on his mind. Not the cute, goofy, bumbling sherrif I grew up knowing. Then throw in a foul mouthed, pot-smoking, rum-running Uncle Jesse with a pony tail, and you have the recipe for disaster.

Burt Reynolds?
Wrong wrong wrong.
       Knowing the movie was going to suck, the studio tries to play their ace up the sleeve: pop-stardom hype in the fetching Jessica Simpson. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a "what the deuce?" moment. What starts out as some nice eye-candy turns quickly into, "oh God, she's on the screen again! Quick, everyone into the bomb shelter!" Obviously not in the movie for her acting ability, she should be ashamed of herself. Almost as ashamed as she should be of her "singing" career. I mean seriously, how many pieces of pop-culture can one person single-handedly ruin? Poorly delivered lines and where did she get that southern accent...southern California? Nice try. As Roger Ebert so eloquently put it, she extended her fifteen minutes of fame to maybe sixteen or seventeen.

       Actor turned politician Ben Jones, who played "Crazy" Cooter in the original series has asked folks to boycott this film due to all the swearing, drugs and sexual innuendos. It turns out that the previous congressman from Georgia actually tried out for one of the characters in the new movie, and when he was turned down, began his crusade against the film. Sore loser. As old and conservative as it will make me sound...he's right. The film stood for everything that the orginal good ol boys were against. It's too bad.

       The real beauty in the film, and the one saving grace was of course The General Lee. That bright orange Dodge Charger with teeth as sharp as razors. He will always be #01 in my heart for cars that have appeared on screen. Whenever that car is on screen, all is right with the world. There's plenty of jumps, cop chases, peel outs and even the two wheeled escape through the barn. Pursued through downtown Atlanta by the hill-billy cops was also quite a treat and some of The General's best moves. And I never get tired of hearing that musical car horn that plays "Dixie."

       Most will find this movie so attrocious, that they'd rather take a $10 bill, wipe their ass with it and throw it in the sewer. However, die-hard fans of the original series may find a few redeeming features. Besides The General's come-back appearance, there are plenty of other clasic scenes. Outhouses blowing up from a well aimed flaming arrow, car hood sliding, "the short-cut" and of course you can't have a Duke movie without a good old-fashioned fist fight. Appropriately enough, this one is over Daisy and takes place in the Boar's Nest (the local bar for those of you who never watched the original show...losers), as they often did. Also, there is the classic voice-over narration. There's a freeze frame at just the cliff-hanger of a moment, and the narrator (unfortunately not Waylon Jennings R.I.P.) busts in with something witty like, "Folks, if you gotta go to the bathroom, now is not the time." At this point in the original show, there'd be a commercial break and we'd come back and keep going right where we left off. They did their best, I think, to recreate this nostalgic cliff-hanger feel.

       Which brings up plot. If you're looking for an interesting plot, run...run fast. This is as simple as it gets folks and follows the same formula that the orignal show ran almost every week. Bad guys show up in town, the boys have to chase them down, beat em up, and make it to the big race just in time to win the prize money so they can buy back the farm that Boss Hogg is about to sell to the strip miners. Then there's just enough time to have a big ol fashioned Hazzard County hoe down/barbeque to celebrate.

       So again, most will hate this film. But for those of you who felt that your life was over if you couldn't get the rabbit ears to work right on Friday night at 7pm when you were a kid, you may find that nostalgic lump in your throat once or twice. Then again, you may be so offended by how the creators destroyed your childhood heroes, that you drive your car off a cliff on the way home thinking your car can fly like The General.




Links:
Official movie site
A great fan site with lots of info, pics, wavs and Duke paraphernalia to buy
Buy the first four seasons on DVD at Amazon.com








drewbacca@moviepatron.com