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By Ron Wells | June 29, 1998

Sing it with me: ^ Just some good old boys, never meanin’ no harm… ^ Film has a few flaws, it’s loud just because, ^ [Michæl Bay] leaves subtlety on the editing room floor. ^ Rocket into space, sling around the moon… ^ Someday the meteor might get ’em but the plot never will. ^
This week, Boss Hogg (big a*s asteroid) gets bumped out of alignment and starts racing toward Hazzard County (earth). Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (Billy Bob Thorton) gets scared and hatches a crazy plan. He calls in Uncle Jesse (Bruce Willis) and Bo and Luke Duke (Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi) to take the General Lee (Space Shuttle) and cut him off at the county line. The boys and Uncle Jesse stop at Cooter’s (Peter Stormare) for gas when the trouble begins. Cousin Daisy (Liv Tyler) looks mighty scared. Hijinx ensue.
For some crazy reason, after the film, I felt like buying a pair of Nikes with my Visa card. Michæl Bay directs REAL GOOD. Granted, the downbeat earnestness of “Deep Impact” left me unmoved, but Bay makes me appreciate the nuances of Tony Scott. Stop shaking the camera, will ya, I’m sitting too close to the screen. Slow-motion for awe and sadness and close-ups for all dialog seem to be the other two pitches in his repertoire. He’s got to work on that curveball.
Who needs characterization when you can buy characters? I think the studio said, “Go over to Miramax and get a bunch of indie actors to fill up the supporting parts, they’ll work cheap!” With Affleck, Buscemi, Will Patton, Owen Wilson, William Fichter, and even Udo Kier, fer chrissakes, they couldn’t have found a part for Parker Posey.
Fake conversation that might have happened: ^ “Buscemi! We’ll give you a million dollars to do that ‘Buschemi’ thing!” ^ “Do I get laid in this picture?” ^ “Of course not.” ^ “Do I get killed in this picture?” ^ “Maybe.” ^ “Can I comment ironically on the action and shoot some guns?” ^ “Sure, what the hell.” ^ “Yeah, okay. I’m in.”
You’ve probably already made up your mind whether you want to see this wannabe “Dirty Dozen” in space. I know I was sold on the ads. Unfortunately, with Bay, it’s all advertisement. Sometimes the movie can’t decide whether to tug REALLY HARD at the heart strings, or make you laugh at the zany oil riggers. Whatever it’s doing, it’s trying REALLY HARD to sell it to you. I wonder if in the future, there will be classes in the “Michæl Bay/Simon West/Antoine Fuqua” school of film and I don’t get it. Mmmmmmm, no, that’s not it. I was entertained, and the film was often funny, especially with Peter Stormare doing his wacky foreign guy in space. I just think these guys should learn you can tell a story with more subtlety over two and a half hours than they do over three minutes.

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