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Volume 70, Issue 161, Thursday, August 4, 2005

Life & Arts

General steals screen in 'Dukes'

By Gayatri Parikh
The Daily Cougar

Who thought the makers of Super Troopers and Club Dread could bring back The Dukes of Hazzard with such, well, yahoo, that even Hazzard purists will grudgingly admit to enjoying it?

The production is obviously not trying to live up to the charming 1979 show. It is a celebration of the original Dukes. This is shown through a cast that draws a fine line between their characters and their own love for playing their characters.

The Dukes's iconic automobile, the General Lee, flies through Georgia, orange, fast and fun. Bo (Sean William Scott) and Luke (Johnny Knoxville) Duke are the same lovable hillbilly heroes with a few tweaks. Bo's love for the General is frighteningly intense and this Luke is less serious than the original as a suave ladies' man. 

Johnny Knoxville (left) and Sean William Scott master the roles of the Duke boys in their own right, as the popular 70s TV program, The Dukes of Hazzard, is given a big-screen makeover.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Nothing, however, has changed, as the evil Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) and his blubbering sheriff, Roscoe P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey), are outwitted again and again by the Duke family, who must race to save Hazzard County from Hogg and Roscoe's wicked plans.

Just like in the old days, the Duke boys do most of the investigating and sabotaging. On the way, they get to drive incredibly fast, blow lots of stuff up, chase women, drink moonshine, crack jokes and deal with the 21st century consequences of sporting a confederate flag on their car. 

It's impossible to remain straight faced through this movie. Scott and Knoxville invest all their energy into playing Bo and Luke, and their enthusiasm for their characters is contagious.

When the boys are in trouble, a whole lot of people step in to help. Cooter (David Koechner), the mechanic, is a dear old faithful. Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) loves the boys fiercely and is armed with a wide variety of bad jokes: "What do you get when you cross a donkey and an onion?" (You'll have to see the film to find out what.)

Jessica Simpson plays Daisy Duke successfully, managing to temper her incredibly sexy scenes with a southern belle kind of self-respect and intelligence.

The real star of this movie, however, is no surprise. The General is an absolute beauty as she performs outrageous stunts and evades the police. Most of the action takes place in the beloved car. 

In a summer full of mediocre films, The Dukes of Hazzard arrives like the General -- fun, in style and with a bang.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Rated: PG-13 

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson

Warner Bros

Verdict: Yahoo! Yipee!

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