WEB EXCLUSIVE: ƒ_~Dukes of Hazzardƒ_™: Just a good olƒ_™ movie

Liz Buckley

Many cringe at the mere idea of a movie version of an old television show.

Hardcore fans of the show in question are often upset by the changes made in a film, and others are critical of the fact that an old idea is being passed off as new.

But Dukes of Hazzard stays true to its television roots while giving the audience some new content to ponder.

Director Jay Chandrasekhar, best known for his film Super Troopers, brings the Duke boys and their bright orange Dodge Charger, the General Lee, into the 21st century while retaining some familiar aspects of the show.

The plot should sound familiar because it is the exact same as it always was in the television series that ran from 1979 to 1985.

Cousins Bo and Luke Duke, with the help of their Uncle Jesse and cousin, Daisy, must save their farm and the citizens of Hazzard County from a nefarious plot cooked up by the crooked County Commissioner Jefferson Davis “Boss” Hogg and his minions Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and Deputy Cletus.

Fans of the television show will be happy to hear Boss Hogg call Deputy Enos Strate a dipstick and should also enjoy the appearance of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane’s rather inanimate basset hound, Flash.

The most memorable scene during the movie would never have happened in the show when the Duke boys head to Atlanta to get the help of a friend originally from Hazzard County.

Bo and Luke are confronted by a group of black men while sitting in traffic in the General Lee. The group of men takes exception to the Confederate flag adorning the roof of the car. The Duke boys end up in jail, apparently for the stupidity of driving around modern day Atlanta with the stars and bars on their car.

The casting could not have been better. Seann William Scott brings humor to the car racing obsessed Bo Duke while Johnny Knoxville moves beyond his Jackass origins as the wily Luke Duke. Willie Nelson’s stint as the patriarch of the Duke family, Uncle Jesse, is admirable while Burt Reynolds adds a more sinister edge to Boss Hogg.

Jessica Simpson does a great job in her first movie role as Daisy Duke, the beautiful cousin of Bo and Luke, who hides her brain behind her feminine wiles.

The only complaint fans of the show might have about Simpson is her blonde hair. Catherine Bach, the actress who played Daisy Duke on the show, was a brunette.

Another complaint die hard fans of the show may have with film is its sexual overtones. The film is definitely more sexually charged than the television show ever was. At one point in the film, Bo even accuses Luke of being a “man-whore.”

At no point does the movie drag. The balance between dialogue and action prevents the required car chase scenes from getting tedious. And if the Dukes of Hazzard is about anything, it’s about car chases.

The film is not going to provoke deep thought among its audience. The characters aren’t exactly demanding emotionally charged performances from the actors portraying them. But the cast is so charismatic, it doesn’t matter.

Contact guest reviewer Liz Buckley at [email protected].