Jessica’s writing a haiku about busting moonshine bottles and getting drunk with Willie Nelson.
Jessica’s writing a haiku about busting moonshine bottles and getting drunk with Willie Nelson.

In The Dukes of Hazzard, these two Southern guys race around in an orange Charger, screaming, “Yee-Haw!” a whole lot while trying to make out with every woman they meet.

That’s the movie. So, if your idea of a good time is seeing the guy from Jackass and Stifler from American Pie shaming Tom Wopat and John Schneider, then Dukes will be your idea of a high-octane cinematic party. If you also possess an unholy attraction to Burt Reynolds in a white suit, you are further guaranteed a good time.

As far as I’m concerned, Burt Reynolds can go to Hell, and he can take Sean William Scott with him. (I like Johnny Knoxville. Any guy who’ll take a riot bullet for a film is all right with me.) Hazzard is another in a long line of useless television-show adaptations, giving me a new appreciation for that crappy Beverly Hillbillies movie from a few years ago. At least that one had Jim Varney and Dabney Coleman.

Scott and Knoxville star as Bo and Luke Duke, moonshine runners and all around irritating bastards. They uncover a plot by Hazzard County’s Boss Hogg (Reynolds) to strip-mine the city, giving them license to drive around a lot while screaming. Their travels take them to a university, where there are a lot of girls, and a big car race, where there are more girls. They get shot at numerous times, and some of the moonshine bottles break. That’s the plot, if you want to call it that.

The film is directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, which filled me with a certain amount of hope because he’s a member of Broken Lizard and the director of Club Dread and Super Troopers. Other than the occasional cameo by Broken Lizard veterans, Dukes has very little of what made those movies funny. So don’t go to this one thinking it’s Broken Lizard’s Dukes of Hazzard, because it’s not.

Jessica Simpson replaces Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke, and there’s really not much to say about this. Yes, she looks super good in the shorts, and she’s probably a better actress than Britney Spears (supposedly her main competition for the part), but she doesn’t have that much screen time. Daisy’s main role in the film is to show up, make some sort of sexual remark and distract men, so that her mischievous cousins can jump a river or building with their car. Simpson does this with relative ease.

Willie Nelson appears as Uncle Jesse, which means there’s going to be some pot jokes. When a character goes to get Jesse from the meat-smoking shed, wouldn’t you know it, that shed is full of smoke, and it’s not coming off the bacon. Ha, ha. Willie Nelson is smoking pot! It doesn’t get more original than that.

Nelson contributes his version of Good Ole Boys, originally sung by his buddy Waylon Jennings. His take on the song plays over bloopers and outtakes, which are far more intriguing than the actual movie.

As for Burt Reynolds, he’s no match for the original Boss Hogg (played by the late, slovenly Sorrell Booke). The film’s biggest letdown is the casting of M.C. Gainey as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. He plays the role as lifeless, big lug rather than the obnoxious buffoon James Best created on the TV show.

The original TV show wasn’t all that much to get worked up about, but it had its charms. The big-screen Dukes has none, and a big opening weekend makes it likely that there will be more adventures sans charm on the way. Bring back Tom Wopat!

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