Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Movie Review - The Dukes of Hazzard - 2005


Yep that about sums it up!

Oh, didn't I tell you? I had 2 tickets to the world premier debut of 'The Dukes of Hazzard' movie Monday night in Charlotte, 5 days before the movie opens.

OK, so I won the tickets on a radio contest, and even thought they billed it as the world premier, it was far from a celebrity gala.

As a matter of fact, it was just a regional premier in a theatre on the far edge of Charlotte, tucked away in the back corner of a strip mall nice outdoor mall (with stores like Old Navy, Target, Kolhs, Rack Room Shoes and some furniture store, so my wife says it's not a strip mall), almost in South Carolina. But it was a nice theatre.

AMC Theater front

With 2 tickets in hand, I took off from work an hour early and picked up my wife Julie and we drove to Charlotte almost South Carolina.

But let me backtrack for you a bit.

I have always been a huge Dukes fan. I remember back to when I was a second grader. Instead of doing my class work, me and my buddies had contests to see who could draw the best General Lee.

And then in the mid-90s when TNN(before Spike screwed it up) began showing the Dukes reruns, I was ecstatic. I watched and watched until I couldn't watch anymore. (That was after seeing all the episodes twice)

Dukes Poster

When word of the Dukes movie came about earlier this year I became, well, happy again. I began watching CMT religiously to see the re-re-runs. I have seen most of the episodes so far.

So there we were, Julie and I, in our seats in a packed theatre, the lights go dim and it was on.

AMC Theater sign

I have to say the movie may disappoint loyal purists. I am not one of those. I laughed so hard that I nearly cried, then nearly peed, and now my stomach hurts.

My wife Julie thinks a simple, "I thought it was funny" will suffice. But she did laugh even if she was trying to hide it during some of the more juvenile moments.

It certainly isn't the same old Dukes of Hazzard.

The setting is modern day Hazzard County, Georgia. Present and accounted for are all of the old characters portrayed by new actors and the familiar Orange Dodge Charger, at first without the Dixie Flag.

Overall, I thought the movie was great. I mean, trying to take such a great 25 year old cult classic that lives on in re-runs to this day, and put it on the big screen with an all new cast playing the same old characters has to be tough. But in this case it's pretty damn close to exactly right, yet not exactly the same.

My wife points out that, "It had a lot of cute jokes in it."

A whole lot of jokes in fact, and not all of them are politically correct, which attracts me, and probably a whole bunch of other rednecks, to this movie like flies on a cow turd. Rednecks ain't exaclty the most politically correct bunch anyway. 'Appalachian American' stands out to me as one of the funnier moments.

It is pretty crude with it's use of harsh language, but not to the point that I wouldn't let my kids see it. They did use a variety of profanity, but they steered clear of the F-Bomb, if I remember correctly.

The action sequences were great. Lots of camera angles capturing endless car chases, crashes and collisions. As the General Lee with the new Bo and Luke sped throught the streets of Atlanta and then the back roads of rural movie Georgia with the state patrol in hot pursuit it occured to me that the state of Georgia would have had trouble covering the bill for their totaled cruisers that never diminished in number throughout the movie despite crashing and flipping and burning and exploding.

The human characters are what really carry a movie like this.

In the TV series while Bo and Luke played it straight and serious for the most part, they were the funny guys in the movie.

Their hilarious antics made the movie worth the price of my free tickets. They weren't exactly the studly Bo and Luke like John Schneider and Tom Wopat played on TV though, but more like two horndog country bumpkins chasing the same farmers' daughters since middle school.

And as Julie notes, "The original Bo and Luke were a lot cuter."

It is a good thing Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott were a funny Bo and Luke though, because Boss Hogg and Roscoe stunk as the serious straight men.

Boss Hogg, played by Burt Reynolds was good, but Julie was taken aback by the skinny Hogg. I think she's right. Why would a character named HOGG be a skinny guy. And there's only one scene where he's getting ready to chow down.

The, unknown to me, actor M.C Gainey, who played Roscoe P. Coltrane, but never once announced the fact, was terrible. Rosco has to be funny and scared of the Boss, but this guy was neither funny nor convincingly scared of the corrupt County Commissioner Hogg. He never was personally in hot pursuit of the Duke Boys either.

As for Daisy Duke by Jessica Simpson....PURR-FECT!!!(wife rolls eyes)

She is a true beauty and played the part of the blushing, yet not bashful, southern belle, well built, tomboy, to a tee. No, she's not playing a Catherine Bach(esque) Daisy Duke, but for what this movie was trying to accomplish, she was perfect.

Julie's thought's on the new Daisy Duke, "Jessica Simpson was a little too much, a little too risque."

But I think it may be worth seeing JUST to see her in the bikini trying to woo information out of Deputy Enos Straight or the other various law enforcement officers that she suckers throughout the movie.

I love Willie Nelson, have since I was 3, and he plays a great Uncle Jesse. His one liners throughout are to die for. Like, "Why is a Divorce so expensive? Because it's worth it!" and, "What do you get if you cross a Donkey with an Onion? A piece of ass that will bring a tear to your eye!" That funny stuff. It's pretty goofy, but it's funny.

I didn't really like the guy who played Cooter Davenport, the grease monkey who helped the Dukes out of all their problems in the TV series. But nobody could ever portray Crazy Cooter like Ben Jones, who is on the record in opposition of the movie anyway.

My biggest criticisms of this action comedy is with the movie's biggest star, the General Lee. NOT ENOUGH JUMPS!!! If you have seen the trailers to the movie you have seen 95% of the jumps that you will see in the movie and that was disappointing to me.

The Dukes of Hazzard is about the frikin' General Lee jumping over closed bridges, dirt piles and tow trucks. I really don't think there were as many jumps in this movie as in a one hour episode of the TV Dukes!

As a matter of fact the car jump outtakes and bloopers at the end of the movie got more of a reaction from the full house than any other part of the movie.

I was also disappointed that there were no cameos by any original Dukes. That could have been a great twist and I kind of expected it.

They screwed with the original formula by not making Boss and Roscoe funny and the box office on the movie may suffer due to that and the smearing of the wholesome classic original into a potty mouth movie.

Don't get me wrong I think this remake is a great movie but it's totally out of phase with what was once and still is a family friendly TV series. But we should all remember that the TV Dukes started out raunchy until they realized that their main audience was the kids.

The movie probably should have been a set of Duke relatives continuing the Hazzard County struggles versus a set of Hogg and Coltrane relatives after discovering an old rotting General Lee in a junkyard, or something like that. This would have made the purists happy and I'd still have enjoyed it too.

But both Julie and I agree that 'The Dukes of Hazzard' movie deserves 2 and a half stars and it's definalty worth the price of a couple of tickets. I'd pay to see it.


Lenslinger said...

Great review, Weaver! Now - let's hear a little more about Jessica Simpson...

Kenneth said...

How could they not have a funny Roscoe? He and Boss made the TV show. I bet they didn't even use the lines "Enos,you jackass" or "Enos,you dipstick" did they? If you don't have a good Roscoe than you don't have a good movie. But, hey, that's just me.

Next time you are in Charlotte look me up. Are you still going overseas?

The Colonel

Chris Morton said...

The General Lee has a CD player in the dashboard. Tell me that the confederation would have opposition to that as well.