Movie Review
The Dukes of Hazzard
Dukes of Hazzard poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published August 10, 2005
US Release: August 5, 2005

Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Starring: Seann William Scott , Johnny Knoxville , Jessica Simpson , Burt Reynolds

Running Time: 105 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $80,270,227
Dukes of Hazzard sucks intelligence right out of your brain. More simply, it just sucks.
Just what I wanted: another movie based on an old TV show of which I've never seen. At least they only made Battlestar Galactica another TV series. Is there gonna be a Three's Company movie coming out soon? I didn't really want see this movie, but now that I have, I should've wanted to see it even less so. Dukes of Hazzard is a waste of time for everyone involved, including the audience. It's a flick that's literally and figuratively just spinning its wheels.

Duke is not a royal title in this case, it is simply the last name of Bo and Luke (Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville). They are cousins, which makes more sense than being brothers, considering one is blond and the other brown-haired. They run Moonshine (what is this, the 1930's?) across Hazzard county for their uncle Jessie (Willie Nelson, sans much screen time). Where they deliver this mighty potent beverage, I have no idea. The boys run afoul of the law, which is owned by cartoonish business villain Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). Hogg wants to do a hostile takeover of the Dukes' family farm and turn it into a coal mine. It?s up to the boys to save the day, using irrelevant car chases as their main strategy.

It was basically useless to write that last paragraph; this movie has as much plot as the moon has atmosphere. I understand that this is a broad comedy that's not based on story, but give us at least a little morsel to seize upon. Without a good framework and likable characters, a movie simply can't be funny. Comedy is looked at as a throwaway genre because there are too many entries like this that are pieces of garbage. This movie proves that a vacuum really can exist in nature; a black hole sucks in light, and Dukes of Hazzard sucks intelligence right out of your brain. More simply, it just sucks.

Johnny Knoxville shows why he didn't come up in the industry through actual acting. I thought he might bring the requisite wild energy to his character, but instead he is so unlikable that it's actually a relief when he exits the picture for a spell, leaving S.W. Scott to drive the friggin orange muscle car by his lonesome. This movie ensures that Johnny will not make it past his current level of respectability in the thespian game. Seann William is affable due to his overall persona, but to say he has little material to work with would be an epic understatement (this thing won't kill his career as long as he keeps on truckin'). Burt Reynolds looks like the place he most wants to be is about "01" million miles from the production set; his abject embarrassment shows on his face and in every line of dialogue he is forced to utter. Is his agent a closet torturer who should be working in Abu Ghraib instead of Beverly Hills? Can he get Paul Thomas Anderson on the phone again, or at least someone who doesn't make completely disposable movies? This rendition of Boss Hogg gives new meaning to the phrase "did it for the paycheck."

Everyone else in the movie trudges through their completely forgettable roles, including the boys of Broken Lizard. Yes, this is kind of like the third BL movie, except that they all only have small cameos, and it's by far the worst thing they've appeared in. When director Jay Chandrasekhar (whose name is surely even harder to pronounce for people than Shyamalan) stages a reenactment of one of his scenes from Super Troopers (B-), it fails to generate one-tenth of the amusement that it hopes for. Kevin Heffernan (alias Farva, as was repeatedly pointed out by a couple jackasses in my theater) plays another bad role to complement his recent one in Sky High (B-).

Dukes of Hazzard is certainly no Club Dread (B) on the comedy front; every joke falls so flat, and so hard that the collective impact burrows down to China. The small handful of mini-chuckles that I emitted could scarcely make up for the empty silence that plagued the rest of the viewing. This flick can do no right. You will want to exit the theater as fast as the General Lee can go.
Scott's Grade: D+
Scott's Overall Grading: 417 graded movies
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'Dukes of Hazzard' Articles
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (8/5)
    August 6, 2005    The opening day is the biggest yet for both Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott, whose flicks Jackass and American Wedding had brought in $9.7 million and $12.2 million, respectively. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Weekend Outlook Chat (August 5 - 7)
    August 5, 2005    Dukes could be anywhere between The Rundown ($18.5 mil) and Starsky & Hutch ($28 mil), with a safe bet probably near Jackass at $22.8 mil. -- Staff of LMI