The Dukes of Hazzard

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This big screen adaptation doesn’t bother to attempt to elevate the original material, except for its explanation of the presence of the controversial flag in politically-correct fashion.

The TV version of The Dukes of Hazzard is be best remembered for two cultural iconic elements: a modified Dodge Charger with a Confederate Flag emblazoned on its roof and a dumb blonde who ran around in tight, cut-off blue jeans carefully-designed to expose the bottom of her buttocks. The former was referred to as General Lee in tribute to the defeated Civil War general, while the term “Daisy Dukes� was coined in deference to the latter character’s man-pleasing pants.

The unabashedly moronic television series, which enjoyed a six-year run from 1979 to 1985, had a simple enough recurring storyline. It chronicled the goings-on in a backwoods Southern town in Georgia where a close-knit family named Duke invariably found itself at odds and on the run from the inept cops and corrupt officials of Hazzard County.

This big screen adaptation doesn’t bother to attempt to elevate the original material, except for its explanation of the presence of the controversial flag in politically-correct fashion. Believe it or not, the Dukes are totally unaware of the existence of the offensive symbol until a black woman yells, “Nice roof, redneck!� at them while sitting at a stoplight. Apparently, the flag was the idea of the auto mechanic they asked to detail their car for them.

Be that as it may, the movie marks the feature film debut of Jessica Simpson as Daisy, while Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville co-star as her cousins Bo and Luke Duke, respectively. The principal cast is rounded out by Bert Reynolds as Boss Hogg, Willie Nelson as Uncle Jessie, Lynda Carter as Aunt Pauline and Joe Don Baker as Governor Jim Applewhite.

Although the picture’s plot isn’t nearly as important as Jessica’s cleavage, the incessant car chases, or the prominent product placements, the point of departure has Boss Hogg seizing the Duke family farm by eminent domain. His nefarious plan is to wreak havoc on the local environment by selling the land to a strip mining corporation. But this flick doesn’t have much going for it unless you enjoy watching ads for Levi’s, Gumout, Shell Gasoline, Sony Playstation, Castrrol, BF Goodrich, Yahoo, Coke, Ford, Miller Beer, Schlitz Beer, Lowenbrau Beer, Hooters, Stanley Tools, Marlboro, Autolite, Tabasco Sauce and Beefeater Gin, to name a few. The dumb dialogue is designed to reinforce the stereotype of the Southerner as retarded. Just think of countless characters rattling off lines worthy of redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy like, “That might be worth putting my pants on for,� and “This is a great place to take a crap.� Hillbilly Heaven, if you even want to go there.

Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for sex content,
crude and drug-related humor, profanity,
and comic action violence.
Running time: 106 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers

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