Movies tend to be a lot like dating. Expectations can make or break an outing. Same with looks. Most people want to look at someone or in some instances something that’s eye appealing if not downright hot. And despite what some people say, the inside matters with heart and soul. Despite being swooped up from the small screen The Dukes of Hazzard offers a bushel full of these attributes and for those who don’t demand much from their characters, story and dialogue, comes off as good ol’ boy entertainment.
Most of that entertainment comes from the always-in-trouble Duke cousins Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville), who among their gigs deliver moonshine for their Uncle Jesse (an underutilized Willie Nelson). But who needs work when there’s plenty of fun to be had tearing up the roads in Hazzard county? For some people the Dukes’ classic orange Dodge Charger, the General Lee, might be the best looking thing on screen. The Duke boys slide across the hood, jump in through the open windows and rev the bad ass muscle machine so many times to keep a charge in the audience. If the General Lee doesn’t spin your wheels than Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson) certainly will get will get most guys’ motors running hot. Not too many films slip a clothing style into the mainstream fashion culture more than the Matrix-style sunglasses, but the Daisy Duke shorts (made famous in the TV series) won’t exactly take a fashion hit in this big screen version. She uses the famous shorts, as well as bikinis, to distract characters and audience as well. Director Jay Chandrasekhar (Club Dread, Super Troopers) maximizes her attributes, as he and his scribes keep Daisy dialogue to a minimum while keeping her breasts and legs to a maximum.
With this winning combination of beauty and muscle might anyone really miss the story? Probably not. It’s nothing that couldn’t be condensed into an hour long TV episode. Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds), aside from tooling around in his 1976 Cadillac El Dorado with the special touches of set of bull horns adorning the front and six-shooter handles for the side handles, plans to strip mine Hazzard County. But the Duke boys get wise to his plan and by winning the big race and smashing up a lot of police cars, they can save the day and the county and make everyone, except Boss Hogg, happy. Who would have thought that the Duke family could be so pro-environment?
Even with the mundane premise Chandrasekhar, like the General Lee, keep a steady pace. The freeze frame shots and narration, slow motion, not too mention a bar fight and multiple car chases give the film a 70s feel and a rollercoaster pace. The soundtrack, filled with the ubiquitous Southern rock anthems from the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Southern Culture on the Skids and Willie Nelson, who performs the original Good Ol’ Boys tune made famous by Waylon Jennings for the television show, add to the Dixie atmosphere.
Good looking, fast moving fun, and having it’s heart in the right place while not being too thought provoking is a lot of people’s definition of a good date.
American comedy director, actor and writer and a member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. Directed four successful Broken Lizard comedies - Paddle Cruiser, Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest. Chandrasekhar's big screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard was released in summer 2005.