Taking the elements of the hit sitcom from the ‘70s and ’80s and dragging it into a feature-length film has never worked in the past (think “Bewitched” and “Charlie’s Angels”) and the new comedy “Dukes of Hazzard” does nothing to change this fact. The original show was likely successful because it appeared only in half-hour installments — not 105 minutes of mind-numbing car chases and bar fights. And while it has a young, attractive cast, pretty people can only overshadow an utter lack of a plot for so long.
The film pivots around the Duke boys’ attempt to save their family farm and all of Hazzard County from town commissioner Boss Hogg, a self-tanned Burt Reynolds looking much like his sleazy Congressman character from “Striptease,” only now with a face lift. The subplot, if you will, is Bo Duke’s (Seann William Scott) desire to win a racing championship with the ubiquitous family car, the General Lee. Of course, viewers will eventually realize that there is, in fact, no hope for whatever semblance of a plot they had thought existed.
Jessica Simpson makes her film debut as Daisy Duke, Luke Duke’s (Johnny Knoxville) short-shorts-donning sister who uses the uncanny power of T&A to distract from her disaster-prone sibling (much like Simpson in real life, if you think about it). We’ve seen better acting from Simpson “Newlyweds.” Here she sports an exaggerated Southern accent that is slightly more annoying than her usual Texas drawl.
Surprisingly enough, the saving grace in the film is Scott (a statement that should never be uttered). Although he perpetually channels Stiffler in every film, Scott does indeed have a knack for comic timing. This cannot be said for Johnny Knoxville, who, if this film is any indication, should stick to getting hit in the balls on “Jackass.”
The film is as one-dimensional as the characters themselves. It takes a certain intellect (or lack thereof) to appreciate its humor, what little it has in the first place. Pratfalls and physical comedy will doubtlessly cause the audience to go into hysterics, but listen for confused silence during the few (OK, both) intellectual jokes.
The Dukes were larger-than-life on the small screen, but with the film’s mediocre cast, atrocious screenplay and barebones plot, “The Dukes of Hazzard” is a hazardous waste of time, money and, perhaps most telling of all, brain cells.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars