A scene from 'Joe Dirt'
Courtesy Photo
no stars 86 minutes | Rated: PG-13
Opened: Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Directed by Dennie Gordon

Starring David Spade, Dennis Miller, Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken, Adam Beach, Jaime Pressly, Kid Rock, Caroline Aaron, Fred Ward, Joe Don Baker

This film is on the Worst of 2001 list.


Couldn't possibly be any worse on the small screen than in the theater.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 08.28.2001


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Astoundingly incompetent David Spade vehicle follows boring white trash nitwit looking for his parents

By Rob Blackwelder

"Joe Dirt" was obviously written by people who owe their careers to sketch comedy. This David Spade vehicle about an inbred, mullet-haired, 98-pound nitwit has no structure to speak of other than the main character narrating four-minute vignettes about meeting road movie oddballs and fantasy sexpots while crisscrossing the country on a quest to find the white-trash parents that abandoned him as a child.

Tying these episodes together is a pathetically contrived set piece in which this grating dullard tells his life story to a drive-time DJ (Dennis Miller, propped up and caffeinated) -- over the course of three days of broadcasts. Talk about your lame plot devices. How did Joe get on the air? He's a janitor at the radio station and the show's producer thought he'd be the perfect sitting duck for Miller's on-air degradation.

After exhausting every shopworn hayseed cliché in the first 10 minutes (shirtless hick driving a primer-painted junk yard muscle car, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd), without garnering as much as a slight smile, director Dennie Gordon (apparently one of Adam Sandler's many talentless bootlicks) pretty much just points the camera at Spade and lets him ad lib, with arduously flavorless results.

Embarrassing themselves in supporting roles are Kevin Nealon (impound lot attendant), Christopher Walken (witness protection mobster posing as a school janitor), Rosanna Arquette (roadside crocodile farm owner) and headbanger Kid Rock (a bully hick who wants the girl who's inexplicably in love with Joe).

An astoundingly incompetent debacle of a movie, "Joe Dirt" is definitive proof that some Hollywood studios will greenlight anything -- anything -- if they think the highly desirable 14-29 male moron demographic will spend money to see it.

David Spade is a funny guy when consumed in moderation. Put him in a sardonic sidekick role or an ensemble sitcom, and he's fine. Last weekend he was the guest on Miller's HBO talk show, and he killed. But anybody who thinks this guy can carry a movie is a certifiable idiot.

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