The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Chase Movie, Action Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 5, 2005 (USA)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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If this film's producers hired director Jay Chandrasekhar for his ability to make cops funny (Super Troopers), then they got a poor return on their investment. No one's funny in The Dukes of Hazzard, least of all the catatonically stiff Burt Reynolds, who could have been a deceptively perfect Boss Hogg, but provides nary an apoplectic fit nor cowboy hat thrown angrily into the dirt. M.C. Gainey's mean (rather than bumbling) Sheriff Roscoe, and the dim (rather than cunning) Duke boys (Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville) only further the casting woes of this turgid 21st century staging of the popular '80s TV show. Jessica Simpson's film debut as Daisy Duke is ok, but she's little more than a vessel for those famous cut-offs. Chandrasekhar tries to liven things up by including a few fellow members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, but it's mostly in vain. The problem with a Dukes of Hazzard movie released in such politically contentious times is that the more the Dukes resemble provincial rednecks, the more regionally localized their appeal, leaving little to savor for audiences in search of ironic kitsch. With Bo and Luke's fondness for hitting each other in the face with telephone books, they're more like Knoxville's Jackass crew than like wholesome troublemakers John Schneider and Tom Wopat from the original series. This wouldn't be such a problem if the story or setup were clever. But screenwriter John O'Brien's Hazzard county is so dead on arrival, he temporarily relocates the action to Atlanta for a few half-hearted anachronisms and culture-clashes, the only attempts at the sorely needed self-awareness seen in films like The Brady Bunch Movie. The end-credit outtakes do provide a few smiles, including plenty of flubbed lines and driving stunts gone awry.