Film Reviews

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD

By • Aug 5th, 2005 •

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Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures / A Bill Gerber production
MPAA rating PG-13 / Running time — 105 minutes

QUOTE: Super Troopers, Club Dread, and now this. Chandrasekhar cannot be stopped.

Why is Johnny Knoxville in movies? I have a theory. Knoxville is a widely gossiped about, though married, ladies man. He is rumored to be a prized one-night dalliance for a legion of starlets, models, and actresses. With a few exceptions, most actors have to fight off the gay rumors. It must be on the job application. Sometimes, a straight man grabs the attention of Hollywood thinking the guy’s real life appeal will translate to the screen. Look what happened to Ben Affleck. The public just never saw him as a sexy leading man. I blame it on his management. You can’t force the public to think someone is hot if they don’t deliver the goods. Case in point: Jennifer Aniston is not beautiful, sexy, or talented. We have been hypnotized into believing Aniston is golden. High priced PR firms can get magazine covers for its clients but not asses in the movie theaters.

Is THE DUKES OF HAZZARD critic proof? Well, at least for the opening weekend. The DVD sales will generate a huge payoff, as long as it is the ‘Unrated’ version with plenty of outtakes. If you invested in THE DUKES, you don’t have to worry about the mortgage.

I’ll say this for DUKE’s director Jay Chandrasekhar: blessed with on-the-job training, this one is much better than SUPER TROOPERS and the monstrously awful CLUB DREAD. But it still has that Chandrasekhar touch of unfunny comedy, bad direction, and a cast without charisma or talent.

Jessica Simpson (Daisy Duke) is in hot pants, so buy a ticket. Is this really the marketing strategy? It should be known as The Banality of Irrelevance.

Who remembers the TV series? I don’t. Tom Wopat played Luke Duke and John Schneider was his cousin Bo. Here, Knoxville is Luke and Seann William Scott is Bo. I’m sure Scott is a raging heterosexual but I would like to think that he continues his amazing movie star career because he is some studio guy’s boyfriend. Chandrasekhar does not know how to make Knoxville and Scott sexy. Knoxville looks too old and haggard. Scott has a really weird hairdo with a flip of hair on each side. And since the screenplay by John O’Brien has only one funny line, we are left with Jessica’s bad acting and a too-brief bikini scene. Oh yeah, Daisy hits a guy.

The plot is too slim and meaningless to write about. The cousins want to save the family farm from being gobbled up by Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). The cast is uniformly terrible: Why is Lynda Carter back? Reynolds’s face is so frozen he has absolutely no expression left except movement in one eyebrow. Willie Nelson, as Uncle Jesse, gets a free pass since he really just turned up on the set and they gave him the part.


Cast:
Luke Duke: Johnny Knoxville
Bo Duke: Seann William Scott
Daisy Duke: Jessica Simpson
Boss Hogg: Burt Reynolds
Gov. Jim Applewhite: Joe Don Baker
Pauline: Lynda Carter
Uncle Jesse: Willie Nelson

Credits:
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Producer: Bill Gerber
Executive producers: Eric McLeod, Dana Goldberg, Bruce Berman
Screenwriter: John O’Brien
Based on characters created by: Gy Waldron
Director of photography: Lawrence Sher
Production designer: Jon Gary Steele
Editors: Lee Haxall, Myron Kerstein
Costume designer: Genevieve Tyrrell
Music: Nathan Barr

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