…and they named it The Dukes of Hazzard!
Most people in my generation either loved The Dukes of Hazzard or hated it. I have fond memories of me as a child, sitting up late with my Dad and watching it, along with A Man Called Hawk and Knight Rider. I honestly don’t remember much about the show, other than the car and the characters. I would be hard pressed to recall any specific stories, but most of them were all the same anyway.
This movie does a fairly good job of updating TDOH for the current times. There are some terrific stunt driving scenes and some truly hilarious moments in the film. Willie Nelson (Uncle Jesse) tells the single funniest joke in the entire movie. Jessica Simpson, who never really made much of an impression on me before, played her part about as well as can be expected… considering her only real part was to look insanely hot and talk with an exaggerated southern accent that would make any true southerner’s toes curl. Burt Reynolds plays yet another semi-detestable variation of the slimeballs he seems to be typecast for lately. Linda Carter has a small role as someone close to the family although I never really figured out who she was. The supporting characters are all pretty faithful to the show, without being limited by it.
Naturally, the Duke Boys… as played by Seann William Scott (Bo) and Johnny Knoxville (Luke) were absolutely hilarious. I’ve never been a big fan of Seann William Scott, but he was pretty good in this, although I don’t recall John Schneider playing Bo as such as idiot. It’s really Johnny Knoxville that stole the movie though. When you need someone to take a lot of physical abuse, you call Johnny Knoxville. I’m not sure how much acting he actually did in the movie, and how much was just his reactions to everyone else, but he pretty much made the movie. Some of the stunts and scenes were so over the top it seemed like outtakes from Jackass The Movie. Oh and there was no shortage of profanity, coming from pretty much everyone except Daisy Duke. That’s definitely one huge difference from the tv show… I don’t recall ever hearing anything stronger than ‘Dang!’ on the tv show.
The plot is pretty thin… The Duke boys are running moonshine and getting chased by the cops. Boss Hogg cooks up a plan to lock them up and steal their property away from them for nefarious purposes. The boys go on a mission to get proof of his plans and try to stop him… There are lots of car chases and jumps and redneck jokes. There are a few ‘fish out of water’ moments when they travel to Atlanta, and those are pretty funny.
The movie ends with the Duke boys saving the whole county and Boss Hogg is once again thwarted. The actor playing Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane was a lot less silly than the tv version, but just as incompetent. Joe Don Baker (the original Buford Pusser in Walking Tall) plays the governor of GA.
Some of the best scenes in the movie (other than Jessica Simpson) aren’t actually in the movie, but in the outtakes reel, so be sure and watch the credits for some truly funny stuff and impressive car crashes.