Joe Dirt review by Tom Blain

DANG!

By now we should all know the formula for Saturday Night Live films. Big loser gets mega hottie girl admist a panel of fart jokes. Thats the SNL film in its most simplistic form and thats pretty much the formula Joe Dirt follows. I call it a SNL film not because this is based off of a reocurring skit , but because it includes a number of former cast members as well as frequent guests. Joe Dirt was produced by buffoon-turned-film-mogul Adam Sandler and its name role is given to cynical David Spade (who also co-wrote). The latter reminds me I should append one more clause to the SNL film formula. The film must also be a TV-to-MOVIE vehicle for one of its former/current members. What got Mike Myers on track as an elite film star? Waynes World. Adam Sandler? Billy Madison. Some members don't seem to get jump started however (Ladies Man and Tim Meadows, Corky Romano and Chris Kattan). So whats the deal with Dirt?

What I liked most about Joe Dirt was the idea. An all out attack on white trash and everything associated with it. Everything from Mullets (it deserves a capital 'M'), to jeans in any color other than blue, to beat up 70s muscle cars, to cheasy 80s music. Wrap it up in a film and make me laugh!

The story starts with little David Spade spinning his tires, listening to Skynyrd, and talking trash with nothing to back it up. Good start. He is discovered by morning shock jock Xander Kelly (Dennis Miller) and begins to unfold his story of how he has been shit upon. His parents left him, he gets picked on by everyone, finds a meteor which is actually a big blue turd, gets food thrown on him, has his leg humped by a dog, is covered in chemical feces, and falls in love. I should emphasize the picked on part because it seems wherever he goes there is someone who wants to pick a fight with the little trailer boy. His quest, however, is to find the parents that left him at the Grand Canyon over 20 years ago.

There are a number of great cameos in this film, the best being Christopher Walken. Walken nails a bit part with his signature "so concentrated and psychotic he is funny" routine. Just his presence in these scenes is enough for belly laughs. He has this almost uncomfortable delivery of lines to the point where his timing is so off you can't help but think he doesnt know what he is doing. Kid Rock also adds a bit to the film, but I have to think his part was less acting and more "just being himself." In nearly every scene he rolls up in his 70s firebird with the T-Tops open, BTO blasting "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" and spraying a cloud of dust and rocks on poor ole Joe Dirt. You get the idea he has been doing this for a while... and thats probably his car. And there is Dirt's love interest, Brandy, who is hot as hell and of course out of his league, but in this type of movie those rules are out the door.

I think the idea for the film was great but the actual execution was poor. They should have just gotten rid of the whole Dennis Miller being Dennis Miller interviewing Joe Dirt and place the remaining scenes in proper order. I am sure there would have to be a few additions and other subtractions as well, but for God sakes do we need Dennis Miller? At the end of the movie it seems he makes Joe Dirt some sort of celebrity icon which is more in the direction of "so absurd its annoying" rather than "so absurd its funny."

It also seems than the Joe Dirt character has the subtle nuances of white trash forced upon him, when I would have rather seen him chose it. The mullet for example is some sort of medical wig that was fused to his skull so he couldn't remove it. Its not as if he put a lot of time and care into his mullet like any good rocker would have. Even his POS car was just what he drove before he could get his 'real' car out of the impound lot. Its not as if he was combing the Auto Trader and said "Yeah that hunk of garbage Challenger would be one whoop ass fixer upper," and started using it as his daily driver. I would have been happier to see him take on all the white trash characteristics by choice and start kickin ass where it needed to be kicked.

On its own, this film is a 5 (however growing on me more and more). But I highly, HIGHLY recommend watching this with the David Spade commentary. It easily boosts this little film to a 7 by hearing what he says along the way. Its classic Spade being a beat-off and ripping on everything in his own film. Even if you don't like this film, I would say give it another chance with the commentary.




5 out of 10 Jackasses
blog comments powered by Disqus