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Dukes of HazzardThe Dukes of Hazzard on DVD

Hollywood will likely want to forget 2005.

The year of the remake took its toll, and we ended up with possibly the most disappointing year in the history of modern cinema (and that’s saying quite a bit).

Not content to merely remake old movies (whether they needed a remake or not), Hollywood thought it best to also dip into old TV shows again and give them a full-length feature – whether they were worthy of it or not.

And while there were some fine cinematic efforts in 2005 that almost make you forget the dregs, let us not forget the dregs.

Hence the Dukes of Hazzard.

The Dukes of Hazzard was an entertaining enough show back in its day. Exactly why, or even what the appeal was we may never know, but there was something about those Duke boys and their cousin Daisy constantly outsmarting the crooked law enforcement officers that was always fun.

And then they decided to make a movie of it.

First things first: let it be known that this is a TV show that had the potential to be a pretty darn cool movie. Even the casting of Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott – despite what naysayers would say – as the Duke boys is pretty clever. But whether it was the director, the producers, the studio – whomever it was who started the other really, really, lousy casting choices – is responsible for the movie’s failing.


Jessica Simpson is a pretty smokin’ hot babe. But she is no actress. Her being cast as Daisy Duke gives her plenty of opportunity to wear tight and/or skimpy outfits (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but she’s not the least bit believable in the role.

First of all, Daisy Duke was a lot more than some dumb chick with a great body. Second of all, if we can’t even believe that this woman is an actress, how are we supposed to believe that her character can successfully con people? Especially since her role seems to have no bearing on the outcome of the film itself.

Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse? It was just crazy enough to work, but apparently they made the mistake of showing him the script before they shot the film. He seems almost embarrassed to be involved, but can’t turn down a hefty paycheck (and who can blame him?).

Then there’s Burt Reynolds. Who doesn’t love Burt Reynolds? And while his performance as Boss Hogg is wonderfully sleazy, the original Boss Hogg was a hundred times sleazier, and looked a hundred times better for the character. Reynolds should have been cast as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and left the Boss Hogg gig to someone who doesn’t make you laugh simply by being there.

Director Jay Chandrasekhar, fresh off some minor success with Super Troopers and Club Dread, has been given the thankless job of directing. The story and situations seem pretty much right out of the TV show, indicating that his approach to the film was actually pretty good. But throw in producers and studio executives and all the other people who have a say in the final product, and you have an underachiever.

It’s only the appearance of the rest of the Broken Lizard crew and some scenes straight out of Super Troopers that make The Dukes of Hazzard tolerable.

Presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, both the picture and sound are a little disappointing. Fleshtones and bright colors seem a tad bland, while grain shows up quite prominently in a few places. Surround use is minimal, limited to the points at which General Lee is making the big jumps, which is also when it’s needed the least. Overall separation, however, is pretty good.

The Unrated version of the DVD is a bit of a tease. The film has not changed, but instead we’re treated to some unrated deleted scenes and bloopers. Yes, these do feature some nudity and swearing, but it’s not nearly enough to make you want to sit through the half hour or so of material. There are a couple of short pieces on the creation of Jessica Simpson’s short shorts and launching a muscle car 175 feet in four seconds, as well as a fluff behind-the-scenes featurette. Finally, we get some trailers, and possibly the worst rendition of a classic song ever made: Jessica Simpson’s “These Boots are Made for Walking” music video.

The Dukes of Hazzard, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
107 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, Joe Don Baker with Lynda Carter and Willie Nelson
Produced by Bill Gerber
Screenplay by John O’Brien, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar

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Updated May 13, 2006