The Barenaked Archives – The Dukes of Hazzard

From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies.

The Barenaked Archives are reviews that I did for two previous websites. Sadly, they are both gone, so this is now the only place online you can see these old columns.

Dukes of Hazzard posterThe South is a sort of country unto itself, with our twangy drawls and bizarre addiction to NASCAR and football (though not necessarily in that order). Hollywood tends to see us as a bunch of backwater, slack-jawed yokels (see: Cletus from The Simpsons) who will enjoy any movie that involves some fast cars and T&A.

Ergo, they present exhibit A: The Dukes of Hazzard, yet another attempt at remaking a fondly-remembered TV series into something for the lowest common denominator of the general public. There are a couple of laughs, but you’ll probably spend the time after the movie crying at the brain cells you’ve lost.

The Duke boys Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) are just a couple of good old boys who like to fight, deliver moonshine for their uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), and lead the rent-a-cop police force of Hazzard County on a few high-speed chases in their ’69 Dodge Charger, the General Lee. When the Dukes get their farm taken away on a trumped-up charge, Bo, Luke, and their sexy cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson) are determined to get it back, no matter what.

The times I laughed the hardest in this movie were in any scene involving a member of Broken Lizard, and that’s mostly because I was remembering the cult classic Super Troopers, which is hands-down one of the funniest movies you’ll ever see. When director Jay Chandrasekhar and Erik Stolhanske reprise their cop roles from that movie, it’s probably the funniest scene if only because the corresponding scene in Super Troopers is classic.

Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville are perfectly fine as the Duke boys, leading one to hope that perhaps at some point they’ll choose to make a movie together where they get to play characters and not caricatures. Not to say they don’t have some fun moments, but by and large they’re so one-note it’s hard to really keep it going the whole movie.

Jessica Simpson has a smoking hot body, and that’s all she’s there for: to keep the guys’ eyes rooted to the screen even when there’s not a car chase in sight. Yes, she looks great, but it would be a big favor to all of us if she would stick to singing.

Burt Reynolds and Joe Don Baker, both of whom used to star in redneck movies back in the ’70s, make appearances as Boss Hogg and Governor Applewhite respectively, but to be honest neither of them do anything really worth meriting attention.

The entire thing is made for the ADD generation with attention spans so short they can’t even pay attention to dinner for more than five minutes. Ooh, look! Car chase! Fight! Boobies! Car! Butt! Car! Car chase! T&A! Fight!

Just in case you might be bored, they’ll throw in a few impossible jumps and some matte shots so bad they make 2001: A Space Odyssey look state-of-the-art. Honestly, given the amount of crazy car stunts they had to pull off, this is one of the few movies where I’m convinced the stunt guys needed to be paid more than the actors. They certainly did more.

Yee-haw indeed. Now can I get my money back?

Grade: D+

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