The Dukes of Hazzard Jay Chandrasekhar

The legacy of small screen to feature film projects is pathetic; those based on nostalgic looks at long-gone TV shows are worse yet. And the prospects of a big-screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard — at best an anachronism of early '80s good ol' boy Friday night television tastes — are, frankly, horrible. All of which makes this a fun, entertaining and actually worthwhile effort by director Jay Chandrasekhar (of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe) both a surprise and a delight. Filling the bucket seats of the General Lee are Seann William Scott (as Bo) and Jackass Johnny Knoxville (as Luke); filling the Daisy Dukes of, well, Daisy Duke is an eye-pleasing but "please don't let her speak" Jessica Simpson, while Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds take some scene-chewing pleasures in Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg, respectively. Who knows what purists might have to say about this big screen adaptation (anyone who remembers more than the '69 Dodge Charger flying through the air has too much time on their hands), but The Dukes of Hazzard is a car-chasing, moonshine-running delight that bears little stink of high pretence. It would be all too easy to turn Dukes into yet another winking self-referential exercise in naval-gazing "postmodernism" (see Starsky and Hutch), but that would betray the very spirit of the Dukes: good times, good fun, getting away with it and getting out. The screenplay by John O'Brien — who, strangely enough, also penned S&H — puts the Georgia boys through the paces but also takes them out of their element and into big city Atlanta, where their Union Jack emblazoned auto raises some questions, to say the least. By retaining the spirit of the original, and with a raft of performers willing to giv'er for the cause, Dukes manages to be good ol' fun. The typical "unrated" DVD comes with two sets of outtakes and deleted scenes (one without bleeped cussing), features on driving fast and getting JS into teeny weeny shorts, and the music video she made with Willie Nelson that probably had more impact in terms of getting teenage boys into a theatre than any Jackass-related tomfoolery could. Plus: behind the scenes featurette, more. (Warner)