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Originally published Friday, August 5, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

About as amusing as Daisy Dukes are long

Is it necessary to be familiar with the 25-year-old TV show that this movie retreads? Not really. Was it obligatory for Hollywood to churn...

Special to The Seattle Times

Is it necessary to be familiar with the 25-year-old TV show that this movie retreads? Not really. Was it obligatory for Hollywood to churn out a ramped-up version during the peak of overloaded big-screen-TV remakes? Probably. Should you see this latest entry in the bad-TV-to-worse-movie genre? No way.

All rhetoric aside, "The Dukes of Hazzard" is just plain awful. It's sure to disappoint fans of the goofy, good-natured series that ran from 1979 to 1985. And the younger generation who don't know Bo, Luke or Daisy Duke from Sorrell Booke will almost certainly find the insipid acting, careless plotting and humorless dialogue inferior to just about anything else from the notoriously unprofitable summer of '05.

Though nominally recognized as the headliners, mug-happy idiots Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott (as cousins Luke and Bo Duke) are backseat drivers to the real star, the General Lee, a super-charged '69 orange Dodge Charger they use to tear around fictional Hazzard County, Ga. All of it accompanied by repeated calls of "Yeee Haaawww!"

Movie review 0.5 stars


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"The Dukes of Hazzard" with Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Burt Reynolds, Willie Nelson. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, from a script by John O'Brien. 105 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude and drug-related humor, language and comic action violence. Several theaters.

With a horn that blows "Dixie" and a Confederate battle flag painted on the roof — a cause for cheers and jeers from passers-by when the Duke boys take a road trip to Atlanta — the fetishized muscle car is one of many inanimate objects that overshadow people.

Cartoonish is sometimes a compliment to describe a technique. But the cast of "Dukes" isn't even two dimensional; the characters exist solely to provide perspective for cars, shotguns, improvised explosive devices and mason jars of moonshine. The only things with any depth are the distinctive attributes Jessica Simpson (cousin Daisy Duke) lends, thanks to an array of bulging bikini tops and barely there cutoffs.

The nominal story line has the Duke boys running 'shine for bad-joke-telling Uncle Jessie (a very tired Willie Nelson), ogling Hazzard County's many bodacious babes and butting their lunkheads with the corrupt law officers that have been feuding with the Duke clan since way back when.

The annual Hazzard County road rally is coming up, and Bo is gunning for his fourth straight win. Wouldn't you know, a monkey wrench or two get thrown into the General Lee's potential when the Dukes are busted and the family farm is seized. They're guilty, of course, but Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey) and his deputies are too stupid to find the real bathtub distillery, so they plant one. "Hilarity" ensues as the boys commit a string of violent felonies to foil the bad guys' plot to strip mine Hazzard County. There's also mass vehicle destruction, of course.

Of all the humiliation this movie inflicts, it's Burt Reynolds who embarrasses himself above all others. With fake hair and an even faker-looking face, he struts painfully through the movie as Boss Hogg, the evil politico who runs Hazzard County. Like everyone else associated with "The Dukes of Hazzard," he should have just run away.

Ted Fry: tedfry@hotmail.com

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