The Dukes of Hazzard and I go way back. For a short time in the early 1990s my mom would watch my two second cousins after school once or twice a week. My sister and I generally enjoyed having them over, it was fun playing with someone other than each other. However, around 4pm the fun ended. Our cousins insisted on watching back-to-back reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard every single time they were over. My sister and I always protested, but our mom would make us be good little hosts and let our guests choose the TV channel.
This movie has a run time of 104 minutes, which is about 103 minutes more than my sanity will allow. Literally the best part of this movie is Willie Nelson smoking weed from an apple bong, and that’s at the very end. (Actually, Nelson’s scenes are all pretty enjoyable. But there are hardly enough of them to make this watchable.) The humor is dumb even for being based on a show glorifying rednecks and yokels. I don’t know why I would expect anything else from Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott, but this seems below both of them.
I could say a million bad things about The Dukes of Hazzard, but the worst aspect is how sexual it is. Jessica Simpson dons the infamous Daisy Dukes, and is clearly only there to shake her ass and get the boys out of trouble. I get it, this was basically Daisy’s entire function in the TV series, but it would have been nice to see her just once help out without needing to flirt or strip down to a bikini. It is the 2000s after all. What’s worse is that the bloopers over the end credits feature a scene where Simpson is sexual harassed by another actor and the crew all burst into laughter. To their credit, Knoxville and Scott look shocked and their laughter appears nervous rather than gleeful, but neither stands up for her. I’m sure this kind of behavior is common on movie sets, but the fact that this made it into the final cut of the film is beyond distasteful.
The Dukes of Hazzard will always be something I just don’t get. I remember hating it as a kid, but was unable to put my finger on exactly why until my dad explained who the real life General Lee was and what the Confederate flag on the car’s roof meant. It never made sense to me why anyone would want to identify with people who fought for slavery, and it still doesn’t. Let’s hope this franchise doesn’t get resurrected again anytime soon.
I’m getting to the stage now where I am tired of reaching for the next DVD on the shelf and thinking ‘why the hell did I buy this’. The Dukes of Hazzard definitely gave me that feeling. I was expecting it to be terrible and was not disappointed. This film almost seems like an advertisement for massive redneck idiots and how great they are. All of the actors try hard, and the film was even directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, the maker of Super Troopers and several episodes of the brilliant show Arrested Development, but even that can’t save this film from being a big mess.
The Dukes of Hazzard is based on the 70s tv show of the same name and follows bogan cousins Luke and Bo Duke (Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott) and their exploits in Hazzard county. With a little help from their sexy cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson) and Uncle Jesse (Willy Nelson), the Dukes thwart the attempts of the greedy and corrupt Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) when he wants to ruin Hazzard county by turning it into a mining town.
This film’s biggest problem is that it takes itself way too seriously. I feel like they’d have been more successful if the filmmakers had attempted to spoof the show, like The Brady Bunch Movie did. This film can’t seem to decide if it wants to be serious or stupid, and when you have a cast that includes Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott, I think that decision has been made for you.
Of course you can’t mention this film without talking about Jessica Simpson filling the short shorts of Daisy Duke. She is probably the best part of this film and tries hard despite her limited ability. Her music video for ‘These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ is probably more well known than this performance, but she does her best. I feel somewhat sorry for her because she is clearly there to be ogled as a sex object only. There is a collection of outtakes during the credits of this film where she is sexually harassed and the crew burst into laughter. I am shocked something like this would happen today at all, let alone make it into the final cut of a big budget film.
Other than Jessica Simpson being sexy, there is not much about this film I can recommend. Knoxville and Scott have decent chemistry, but their characters come across as hick morons and not the leading men I would expect to carry a film. Save yourself some time, and just watch the video for ‘These Boots Were Made For Walkin’. You will get the same doing that as you will out of watching this, and you’ll save yourself about 85 minutes.
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