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The Dukes of Hazzard (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

REMEMBER those good old boys, The Dukes of Hazzard, the Georgia-based cousins who ran moonshine in their beloved '69 orange Dodge Charger (The General Lee), for six years, from 1979 to 1985 on TV?

Viewers might want to cling on to those memories once they witness the car crash that is the big movie remake.

It's difficult to know where to start with this blockbuster, given its blatant disregard for either the good-natured tone of the series or the basic principles of film-making.

But director, Jay Chandrasekhar, who has already been responsible for the lamentable Super Troopers and Club Dread, has delivered a truly derisory experience that is, in itself, a Hazzard to viewers.

The TV show was famous for its slick car chases, bar-room brawls and, of course, a certain Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) and her infamous short pants.

The film doesn't tinker with the ingredients but overdoes the mix on all counts, resulting in a movie that's likely to leave as big a headache for viewers as a session on the Dukes' moonshine.

The plot, as such, finds the cousins, Bo and Luke Duke (Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville), attempting to prevent a plan by sly commissioner, Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds), to strip-mine Hazzard County for a million dollar profit.

It plays out like a series of uninspired sketches, interspersed with car chases and the sight of Daisy (Jessica Simpson) in her hot pants.

Scott and Knoxville have the potential to make an engaging comedy double act but are continually thwarted by a script that resorts to cheap laughs and even cheaper sub-American Pie-style thrills.

While Simpson, in her first big screen outing, doesn't so much get to act as pout, model and tease the audience.

Reynolds, too, seems to be labouring with the banality of proceedings, turning in a one-note performance that frankly becomes tedious.

The biggest star, of course, is the car, and the General Lee delivers the bulk of the thrills, having been given a vigorous workout by the stunt co-ordinators who, at least, have opted to keep things real rather than resorting to CGI effects.

But even the chases threaten to become repetitive given their frequency and constraints.

Suffice to say, there is little, if anything, to recommend this remake unless idle curiosity simply gets the better of you.

Hence, when Simpson purrs 'these boots were made for walking' over the soundtrack near the end, you might just feel suitably inclined for the 'yee-haw' factor is in chronically short supply.

Related stories: Johnny Knoxville interview

Seann William Scott interview

Jessica Simpson interview

Jessica Simpson - These Boots Were Made For Walking video and clips

Jay Chandrasekhar interview

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