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Movie Review: The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning

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Ben Jones, who played "Cooter" on The Dukes of Hazzard before getting elected to Congress (seriously!) wasn't very happy with the Dukes movie that came out in 2005.  Jones complained about the "profanity laced script with blatant sexual situations that mocks the good clean family values of our series" and added, "this kind of toilet humor has no place in Hazzard County."

If the first movie made Jones upset, the direct-to-DVD prequel The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning will probably give him a heart attack. The new film, which shows how them Duke Boys got to Hazzard County in the first place, is much raunchier – and even dumber – than the Jessica Simpson version.

Just as "Coy and Vance" replaced Bo and Luke for a season on the TV show, unknowns Jonathan Bennett and Randy Wayne take over from Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. When the cousins were sixteen years old, after several automotive- and explosives-related mishaps, their parents sent them to spend the summer with old Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson, reprising his role from the movie, and looking really stoned) on his Hazzard County farm.

But Jesse really made his money running the best moonshine around, and after crooked county commissioner Jefferson Davis Hogg (Christopher McDonald) threatens to foreclose on the preoperty, the Duke Boys are pressed into action to help him sell enough white lightning to save the farm.

The two most enduring Dukes of Hazzard icons are the boys' 1969 Dodge Charger, the General Lee, and their comely cousin Daisy Duke, who lent her name to really short shorts. In The Beginning, the General Lee is found at the bottom of a lagoon, complete with a faded Confederate flag on the roof (Bo exclaims, "it's from the Civil War!"), while Daisy (April Scott) has just turned eighteen (whew!) but hasn't gotten around to wearing her trademark shorts just yet. In fact, she's pledged to remain a virgin until she gets married, and her glasses ensure that no one will ever look at her. Doesn't any guy go for the Lisa Loeb/librarian look in movie world?

The Beginning is even sillier than the first movie, but let's face it: no one expects great art (or "good clean family values") from a film based on The Dukes of Hazzard, and if you really liked the 2005 edition, you'll probably be satisfied. The General Lee remains the coolest car in Hollywood history, and April Scott does look quite good in these shorts – plus, she actually shows signs of being able to act, which is more than you can say for the last person who played Daisy Duke. But Bennett and Wayne make John Schneider and Tom Wopat look like Olivier and Brando.

One of the most interesting things about The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning is that Sherilynn Fenn, from Twin Peaks, has a small part as sex-starved Lulu Hogg. Back in 1991, when Twin Peaks was the most talked-about show on television, you have to wonder whether Fenn ever thought she'd find herself playing Boss Hogg's wife in a direct-to-video Dukes of Hazzard movie.

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About Damian P.

  • http://aboutthesongsinfirstseriesshow S smith

    i watched the first show and thought it to be very creative. Well done! My question is i heard a song in it that i havent heard in ages. The learics were (if you want to get to heaven- you got to raise a lil hell) my question is who is the band? If you could write me back and let me know where to look for the sound demo for the first show or just know whom it is. I appreciate your taking time to read this and a prompt response would be greatly appreciated. Thank You,
    S. Smith