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"The Dukes of Hazzard"

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar ("Super Troopers").
Written by John O'Brien.  Based on the series created by Gy Waldron.
Starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson and Burt Reynolds.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  8/8/05


Colleen, Jellybean and I went over to the multiplex last Friday to check out "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Let's back up.


Well, here's what I mean--there was really no good reason to go see "The Dukes of Hazzard", but I figured that the Grants wouldn't have come with me to see "Sky High" or that penguins movie, and with nothing coming next week, this was as good a reason as any to go out and see a new flick.  Plus, I did love the TV show back in the much so that I still remember the coin bank my mom got for me that was shaped like the General Lee, that bad-ass Charger, ugly orange but wicked fast.

So, why not?  We've got the whole gang--Luke Duke (Johnny Knoxville), Bo Duke (Seann William Scott, back in familiar sidekick territory), Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson), and the "bad guys" like Roscoe P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey) and Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds).  We've got Hazzard County, site of more made-up backroads, dirt paths and unfinished bridges than any single location in the history of American television.  We've got moonshine, we've got Daisy's cutoffs, we've got car chases...we've got the General Lee.

The film version has a plot--something about land and Hogg being dirty and soil samples and college co-eds--but it's unnecessary, since all we care about is watching the Duke boys barely skate their way out of trouble with some laughs, a little music, and the insane car stunts...which director Jay Chandrasekhar (he plays a campus cop in the film) handles fairly well.  There are some decent laughs, thanks to the man that is coming close to redefining the second fiddle, Seann William Scott.  I respect a man that knows his limitations, and as a guy that plays silly dumbass after silly dumbass, Scott currently has no peer.  Taking on roles as difficult as turning on your computer, Scott has (arguably) made only one truly shitty film, "Bulletproof Monk"...otherwise, he has been money.  From his trademark role of Stifler in the "American Pie" series to bits in "Old School", "The Rundown", "Final Destination" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", Scott is almost always on his game.

The other performers in "The Dukes of Hazzard" add little to the overall product, most notably Simpson.  Here's my thing, and feel free to debate this with me until the sun goes down:  truly incredible body; shockingly scary face.  I mean scary.  The kind of scary that actually kinda freaked me out whenever she gave us the toothy Daisy Duke smile.  I think it needs to be addressed--what is wrong with Simpson's face?  I can't put my finger on it, but it is frightening.  Maybe it's the jawline?  Maybe it's her square facial features?  Maybe it's her cheekbones?  Shit, I can't figure it out for the life of me, but seriously, not attractive.  I never had her at that Salma level anyway, but as the eye candy in "The Dukes of Hazzard", I was scared every time the camera moved from the legs to the face.

Hell Express, now boarding!

Anyway, the movie is otherwise just okay; the car-chase sequences and the car stunts in general are quite cool, I favorite was the extended drift sequence when the boys are stuck in a traffic circle in downtown Atlanta, as someone burned MAJOR rubber off of some tires as the General Lee was drifting 'round and 'round in the midday sunshine.  The outtakes are also great, making me more and more angry that "Wedding Crashers" somehow bypassed doing an outtakes bit during its credits.  But otherwise, "The Dukes of Hazzard" is very pedestrian, doing just enough to get by.  I didn't get the impression that we are destined for sequelitis, so at least I can give it that...but still, just okay.

Dear Hollywood, could you please give me some original product?  Maybe something not based on a TV show, comic book, popular novel or a popular flick from 30 years ago?  Thanks.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09