Joe Dirt Movie Review

As scary as it sounds, I was actually looking forward to seeing the new David Spade comedy, Joe Dirt. My entire childhood and much of my adolescence was spent in such podunk California towns such as Exeter, Georgetown, Placerville, Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, Garden Valley, Kelsey, and Cool. Such places where ripped Dokken t-shirts were worn with pride, jeans were bathed in an acid wash, and hair cuts were sported by the mullet kings of Cali. I grew up in fear of Wrangler jeans, Bob Seger t-shirts, and Chevy Camaros.

Joe Dirt was meant to be redemption for my miserable years at the hands of these greasy, ignorant tormentors. But then 30 minutes went by and the movie took a sharp left into saps-ville, crashing and burning like a 74 'Cuda wrapped around an oak tree. Oh well.

Joe Dirt the man (David Spade) is a rebel without a clue or a proper barber. While mopping the floors at a local radio station in LA, Joe is corralled by a producer into an on-air interview with a Howard Stern wannabe DJ (Dennis Miller, in a role that finally solidifies his sell-out status), who ridicules his mullet hair and his white-trash beard patches. In defensive of his social stature, Joe tells the tale of his life story -- his search for the parents who abandoned him at the Grand Canyon; his various jobs as a 'gator wrestler, circus carnie, walking billboard, oil rig worker, janitor at a grade school; and the love of his life Brandy (Brittany Daniel) -- the "Tokyo Rose of the Trailer Park."

Along the way, Joe Dirt has incestuous sex with an assumed sister; gets pelted by hot chili and hot dogs; gets beat up by numerous thugs; receives mental torment via Kid Rock and his white-trash crew; shoots fireworks at gasoline-filled tubs; and is held hostage by Buffalo Bob in a strange Silence of the Lambs homage.

It's too bad that instead of exploiting the ignorance and ridiculousness of the white-trash mentality, Joe Dirt is portrayed as a sympathetic loser who proclaims his vitality through motivational statements -- like "Keep on keepin' on" and "Life's a garden, dig it" -- enough to make Stuart Smalley cringe. The sappy love story also carries about as much credibility as Whitesnake's Greatest Hits, sucking the energy out of the film.

Put simply, David Spade is not a romantic lead, and he really can't carry a film on his zany attempt to be a thespian (see also Lost & Found). The collection of bit parts given to such notable actors as Rosanna Arquette (a 'gator ranch owner), Christopher Walken (a janitor hiding out in the Witness Protection Program), and Fred Ward (Joe's mullet-headed bastard of a father) are actually the funniest parts of the movie. The best job in the film, though, goes to Kid Rock, who clearly didn't need to stretch beyond his roots, with his greasy long hair and limited vocabulary... the essence of trailer trash.

More white-trash movies are on the way. Up next, a film about the Mr. Show character "Ronnie Dobbs" called Run, Ronnie, Run. Will the mullet finally get its due? We shall see.

Dig in, Joe.


Comments

Joe Dirt Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG-13, 2001

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