Dukes of Hazzard Means No Harm

Columbus Alive | August 4, 2005
It’s hard to be too protective of late ’70s television action comedy The Dukes of Hazzard, or too picky about its big screen adaptation. The source material was never more than half serious, a weekly escape to a country-fried cartoon world of CB-squawking car chases, short shorts and dynamite arrow-fueled explosions. As long as it covers those bases, how can Dukes of Hazzard help but be considered a success?

Broken Lizard trouper and director Jay Chandrasekhar, well versed in highway humor from his funnier Super Troopers, hits almost all the required notes—right down to Boss Hogg calling Enos a dipstick—and still has plenty of time to kill. So much time, in fact, that he sends Bo and Luke Duke (Seann William Scott and a more tolerable than usual Johnny Knoxville) on an awkward detour out of the confines of Hazzard County and into our world.

Here they meet black people and get all kinds of unwelcome attention as their stars-and-bars painted car sits in a traffic jam. Like the intrusions of cell phones and a Usual Suspects reference, these scenes seem out of place, but the car chases cover any flaws in a cloud of dust.

The cast is wildly uneven. Scott remains an unrivaled king of charming idiocy, while Jessica Simpson fills a bikini like a mannequin, and is equally lifeless. Willie Nelson is an interesting choice to play Uncle Jesse, as interesting as Burt Reynolds for Boss Hogg, but neither one brings anything other than his name and street cred to the role.

But why bother with gray areas when discussing a Dukes of Hazzard movie? Such a broad riff on such a silly show can only be summed up with either a yeehaw or a nay, and in this case, the yeehaws have it.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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