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The Dukes of Hazzard

‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ follows the antics of cousins Bo (Sean William Scott) & Luke Duke (Johnny Knoxville), who deal in illegal alcohol delivery, while at the same time trying to avoid the clutches of corrupt Sheriff Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). One day they learn that Boss Hogg plans to destroy their familial home owned by Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), and turn it into a coalmine. The boys do what they can to prevent this and are helped by another cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson). What follows are endless car chases, non stop crashes and low digit humour.

This film is based on the popular tv series which ran for 6 years from 1979 - 85. The show was hardly high art, but what it did have was an easy going charm amongst the car chases, and was well liked by mostly young males who wanted to ride the ‘General Lee’, the car ridden by the Duke boys. Merchandise, a spin off show, a few reunion films and now this movie have spawned from the tv version. It developed a cult audience who fondly remember indulging in a slice of countryside kitsch!

However the mistake the filmmakers have made with this version, is that they have made it into a comedy, which the tv version wasn’t. In the earlier incarnation, the actors played their roles ’straight down the line’, which allowed the comedy to come naturally to proceedings, instead of being forced as it is in this film. Also, there are too many scenes of car chases which after awhile become tedious, with a plot which is as thin as a supermodel. To be fair, the tv show was virtually plotless as well, with each episode basically being saving Uncle Jesse’s farm, which this film uses as well.

Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott seem to be having fun in their parts, although sadly the fun doesn’t translate for the audience. Both of them are too over the top in their roles, and aren’t as deadpan as they should be, which added to the camp value of the tv show. Burt Reynolds enjoys himself playing a nasty, although Burt is looking a bit scary these days as a result of too much plastic surgery. Willie Nelson is perfect as Uncle Jesse, and is the best one in the cast. He’s the only one you can believe would be doing what his character does, and gets to sing the Hazzard theme song - ‘The Good Ole’ Boys’ to good effect. Pop starlet Jessica Simpson as Daisy doesn’t do much apart from wiggle and giggle as only she knows how. Wonder Woman herself - Lynda Carter - appears also as yet another relative, but is sadly underused. The rest of the cast don’t do much but get caught up in the car crashes and stare at Burt Reynolds bad surgery!

It’s telling of a movie made from a tv show that the original cast don’t even appear in it - if this film was too bad for the cast of ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ to be in, it must be bad! Hollywood has surely scrapped the bottom of the barrel with adapting tv shows, what’s next? - a movie version of Good Morning Australia with Richard Gere as Bert Newton? This film is quite appalling and only gets some marks for having Willie Nelson and Lynda Carter in it. It’s deathly dull and lifeless and drives one to tears of boredom. As amazing as it sounds, this film was such a hit that a sequel set in London is in the works. The Royal Family are lining up for roles as we speak…..!!

Rating out of 10: 2

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