Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, Willie Nelson, Alice Greczyn, Michael Weston, James Roday, M.C. Gainey, David Koechner, Jack Polick, Kevin Heffernan, Lynda Carter, Joe Don Baker
Written by: John O'Brien, based on the television series created by Gy Waldron
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, crude and drug-related humor, language and comic action violence
Running Time: 106
Date: 07/27/2005

The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dixie Dust

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I had hoped that The Dukes of Hazzard would qualify as the worst movie I've seen all year, but sadly, it's not. It's not intolerable or offensive so much as it is just plain stupid. But even then, it's happily stupid, in a kind of easygoing way. No one paid much attention to the original television show, as the haphazard casting shows. Boss Hogg is no longer a sputtering Weeble of a man; he's now played with sharpened teeth by Burt Reynolds. Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane is no longer a cackling idiot, and is replaced by an evil meany (M.C. Gainey). Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson) now exists only to remove various layers of clothing to fool some hapless male into performing some helpful task. As for Bo and Luke Duke, those scrappy, pretty boys are now embodied by two of the most annoying actors currently standing upright: Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott. Grade-D Director Jay Chandrasekhar (Club Dread, Super Troopers) and screenwriter John O'Brien (Starsky & Hutch, Cradle 2 the Grave) attempt to add some kind of plot about how Boss Hogg wants to strip-mine Hazzard county, and how he's throwing a big car race -- which the Duke boys will enter and win -- to distract people. But the point of this setup has always been about cars, girls and the essence of the small town South in all its glory. The filmmakers actually make a few fairly decent jokes about Southern tension and its release (most of them during a sequence set in Atlanta) and there are fewer "fart" jokes and pratfalls that one would expect. But make no mistake; even if Orson Welles had risen from the grave to make this film, there's not a lot he could have done with it. Willie Nelson co-stars as a much leaner Uncle Jesse. Lynda Carter and Joe Don Baker also turn up in small roles.

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