|The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
Starring: Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, Lynda Carter, Joe Don Baker
Director: Jay Chandraheskar
ALSO! Check out where it ranked in our 2005 Year in Review.
It’s now the first week of August, which is as good a time as any to take a look back at what the moviegoing public has been subjected to over the last three months. This should be fun.
“xXx: State of the Union”: sequel
“House of Wax”: remake
“Star Wars Episode III”: sequel/prequel
“The Longest Yard”: remake
“The Honeymooners”: TV adaptation
“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”: remake
“Batman Begins”: prequel
“Herbie: Fully Loaded”: sequel/remake
“Bewitched”: TV adaptation
“War of the Worlds”: remake
“Dark Water”: Japanese remake
“Fantastic Four” comic book adaptation
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”: remake (screw Tim Burton, it’s the same source material)
“The Bad News Bears”: remake
Which brings us to “The Dukes of Hazzard,” yet another TV adaptation. Someone should send this list to the head of every studio in Hollywood. Next time one of the honchos puts the revolver to his temple and cries, “Why is the movie industry in such a slump?,” make him look at this. Granted, there are some good movies in here, but most of them stunk to high heaven. And we haven’t even mentioned other dogs like “The Island” and “Stealth.” Studios should think of their movies as hookers, with the ticket buyers as their johns. Movies are supposed to entice and seduce us. So why, then, would the public want to get into bed with a movie when they’re just going to lie there, smoking a cigarette while talking to their ex-boyfriend on a cell phone?
You need not be a fan of the show to follow the story line. Cousins Bo and Luke Duke (Stiffler and Jackass, respectively) are moonshine-running ne’er do wells who have lived their whole lives in Hazzard County, Georgia. They consistently run afoul of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey, who was Swamp Thing in “Con Air” and the large naked guy at the end of “Sideways”) and his underworld boss, the corrupt southern gangsta Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds), who has a nefarious plan afoot. It’s up to the Dukes, along with cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson), Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) and mechanic friend Cooter (David Koechner) to save the sun-kissed land of Hazzard.
There is absolutely nothing in this movie that you haven’t seen before. The boys’ detour into Atlanta is straight from the “Brady Bunch” movies, where they take characters frozen in time in the minds of the audience and bring them crashing into the present. (The Bradys, for the record, did it far better.) The car chases? Please. When I came home from the movie, my wife Buffybot (she couldn’t even be bothered to see it for free) asked, “Was there a scene where the Dukes jumped over a ravine but the cops fell straight into it?” I believe you already know the answer to this. There’s also a Talking Killer (props to Roger Ebert), a ticking clock, and action-freezing narration. You almost have to give them credit; they left no movie cliché stone unturned.
Stiffler and Jackass are fine, given the material. Their accents are ridiculous, but since they’re usually being chased and getting shot at while they’re talking, it’s tough to tell when they slip up. Simpson’s accent, on the other hand, falters constantly, though that will hardly matter to any straight male who still decides to see this. For anyone who wants to see Simpson do soft core porn, save 90 minutes of your life and watch her video for “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” on Launch.com. It has the same curves and the same outfits, all in a four-minute clip that ends with her washing the General Lee in a bikini. This way, you won’t have to see Reynolds and Joe Don Baker (Governor Applewhite) slum for their supper.
You can see why the actors in “The Dukes of Hazzard” were drawn to the material. It must have seemed brash and politically incorrect, yet edgy at the same time. In truth, it’s none of those things; it’s just lazy. Sorry, Hollywood, but we can tell when you’re faking it.