This pumped-up variation on the popular Dukes of Hazzard TV series (1979-1985), the very definition of a disposable scrap of pop-culture fluff, is so outrageously, unregenerately stupid that you might be tempted to think it's smart. But it's not: It's as dumb as Georgia dirt, and almost as dumb as hillbilly cousins Luke (Johnny Knoxville) and Bo (Seann William...read more
This pumped-up variation on the popular Dukes of Hazzard TV series (1979-1985), the very definition of a disposable scrap of pop-culture fluff, is so outrageously, unregenerately stupid that you might be tempted to think it's smart. But it's not: It's as dumb as Georgia dirt, and almost as dumb as hillbilly cousins Luke (Johnny Knoxville) and Bo (Seann William Scott) Duke, who live with their grizzled Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) and yet another cousin, hotter-than-Georgia-asphalt Daisy (Barbie-doll pop singer Jessica Simpson, in her movie debut), on a farm in rural Hazzard County. Popular pastimes include fussin', feudin', fightin', drinkin' and drivin'. When Bo isn't delivering Jesse's homemade moonshine in his beloved General Lee, a souped-up Dodge Charger, he's dreaming about winning the annual Hazzard Country road race for the fifth time in a row, breaking the four-time record held by local-boy-turned-NASCAR-star Billy Prickett (James Roday). But not a week before the big race, things go sour: Prickett blows into town in a blur of snooty attitude, flapping his gums about how his fancy-pants vehicle is going to leave the General Lee in the dust; Bo smashes up the General trying to save Luke's bacon and local bigwig Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) repossesses the Duke farm on some trumped-up pretext. Convinced that Hogg is up to something big, Luke and Bo go nosing around and uncover a devious plot to strip-mine Hazzard County. But can they thwart Hogg's evil plan? Anyone who cares already knows the answer, and knows further that it will involve a whole lot of pedal-to-the-metal motoring of the kind that should always be accompanied by a "professional driver on a closed course" disclaimer. This unimaginative Southern-fried action comedy of the kind that harks back to the '70s heyday of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT brings the Dukes full circle, since Gy Waldron repurposed characters and situations he created for MOONRUNNERS (1975) for the series. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar of the cult comedy troupe Broken Lizard, the film's ambitions are so low that it's hard to imagine how it fell short of them. But while the details are all there, from Daisy's short-shorts to the General Lee's Confederate-flag emblazoned roof, whatever scruffy charm the original had is so smudged and blurred that it's imperceptible. Simpson's plastic smile and the sight of a fat guy in dirty Y-fronts falling down in the mud don't really compensate.
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