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The Dukes of Hazzard

Good Ol' Boys Back to Their Old Tricks

The original "Dukes of Hazzard" was affable enough, an upbeat slice of Friday-night fluff in which grown men acted like raving, drooling hyenas, engaged in high-speed car chases and downed plenty of moonshine. There were corrupt cops (Boss Hogg), pretty girls in impossibly short shorts (Daisy Duke) and, of course, the good olí boys, Luke and Bo Duke, never meaniní no harm, but always stirring up some kind of trouble. As an adolescent fantasy rife with crude redneck stereotypes, it worked, as long as you didnít stop to think.

Jay Chandrasekhar's Dukes of Hazzard, starring Johnny Knoxville (Luke) and Seann William Scott (Bo), doesn't work, even by the relatively low standards set by the TV show. Chandrasekhar, who earned big laughs with goofball comedies like Super Troopers and Club Dread, would seem the perfect choice to transform such mediocre source material into a sly, even stylish movie, but no. His Dukes of Hazzard isn't a movie so much as a meandering series of scenes, arbitrarily pieced together and tossed onto a screen. The expected ingredients -- the automotive anarchy, the not-so-subtle sexual innuendo and the on-again, off-again Southern accents -- are all here, but the results are half-baked.

Is there a story? Not really, but that doesn't stop the brothers Duke from riding their high-powered Dodge Charger, the General Lee, roughshod all over Hazzard County, much to the chagrin of Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). Hogg, forever the bumbling fiend, has a devious plan to convert the county into a giant strip mine, and he's intent on seizing the Duke family farm in the process. Naturally, Bo and Luke conspire to stop him, with the help of the smoldering Daisy (Jessica Simpson). Simpson's job is to show off her considerable assets, which reduce Hogg's collection of Keystone Cops to a posse of stuttering baboons, and she does this well, so she can be forgiven if she forgets to act.

Willie Nelson is equally wooden as Uncle Jesse, the patriarch of the Duke clan. He shows up, lends an authentic Southern presence to the proceedings, and sings "Good Ol' Boys," the theme song from the TV series. Only once does he inject himself into the good-natured mayhem swirling around him, taking a rare break from his normal state of serenity to sock Boss Hogg in the jaw. The rest of the time he sits back and watches all the inane hootin' and hollerin', much like the audience.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars