Opening on the sprawling fields of Georgia, The Dukes of Hazzard hopes the somewhat rugged, historic fields will distract from the absolute nothingness within. Our chirpy narrator tells us that this is where the apple pie may have been invented. Such delicious texture and variety similar to apple pie are nowhere to be found, and I find this claim of invention rather dubious. Redneck comedy with two rather rich gentlemen at the helm of it, The Dukes of Hazzard adapts the mediocrity of the television show with all the cold beers, denim shorts and burnt-out stars it can get its hands on. That explains Burt Reynolds, anyway. Rest his poor soul, his latter days as a performer are filled with these stinkers and duds of the comedy genre, a supremely upsetting segment of twilight years, reserved for hillbilly comedies detailing NASCAR racers and petty feuds.
A womaniser and a car enthusiast deliver moonshine to the various stereotypes not lucky enough to retreat into their homes before director Jay Chandrasekhar placed his camera on their porch. Sexual innuendos mixed with incestuous remarks, followed up by Reynolds fitted into a Colonel Sanders cosplay attire, it is safe to say The Dukes of Hazzard is less than enjoyable. Uncomfortable notions of intense family relations are disturbingly frequent, and although it is played off as a joke, it never comes out as one. Pacing is the key issue, the writing is simply not able to hold up any scene, let alone a story involving geological strife. A wasteful amount of supporting characters is thrown around, likely in the vain hope of quantity being enough to disguise the lack of quality.
Embarrassing it may be to admit, The Dukes of Hazzard did make me laugh once or twice. Clearly light-headed or suffering some damage to the brain, these moments are not bawdy or actually based in the humour Chandrasekhar and his cast wish to study, but in happenstance moments of physics-defining nonsense. Johnny Knoxville clinging onto a safe being dragged by a truck is the clear, thankfully short highlight. At that point though, laughter was not on my mind. A sense of fatigue had taken over, drained after a mere half-hour of viewing. Powering through the remaining hour was torture, and it amuses me to no end that producers convinced themselves that this film needed to be close to the two-hour mark.
Collating his Broken Lizard crew in minor supporting roles and attaching them to a shoddy adaptation of a forgotten 80s show, The Dukes of Hazzard has no audience. Those few heads it turns have looks of sheer revolt and disgust stapled to their faces, and you can’t blame them considering the lack of quality found here. Moments of crazed messiness make for odd moments of marginal interest, but the delivery, style and direction are something no human being should ever need to witness. A cursed film indeed, one that showcases the American South with a lack of reverence, wrapping that bolo tie tight around the neck of the Bible Belt, hoping for Willie Nelson to strum along to their terrified, stale screams.