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Movie Reviews

The Adventures Of Joe Dirt  

Cast: David Spade...............Joe Dirt
Brittany Daniel...........Brandy
Dennis Miller.............Radio D.J.
Adam Beach................Kicking Wing
Christopher Walken........Clem
Jaime Pressly.............Jill
Kid Rock..................Robby
Erik Per Sullivan.........Little Joe Dirt
Megan Taylor Harvey.......Joe's Little Sister
Caroline Aaron............Joe's Mom
Fred Ward.................Joe's Dad
John Farley...............Security Guard
Bob Zany..................Man #1
Bean Miller...............Man #2
Fred Wolf.................Producer Fred

Directed by: Dennie Gordon Written by: David Spade and Fred Wolf

Rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and language
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Buy The Adventures of Joe Dirt at AllPosters.com
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In the new comedy "Joe Dirt", a slovenly janitor accidentally stumbles into a Los Angeles radio talk show, gets invited as a guest and begins telling his life story. His tale is a sad one. At the age of eight, he was ditched by his parents while vacationing at the Grand Canyon, and ever since he's been stumbling around from state to state, performing odd jobs and wondering why his mom and dad bolted. Soon all of Los Angeles (and the nation) are captivated by his story. The radio host conveys to Dirt his disbelief that someone who so perfectly embodies a white-trash idiot can maintain such a positive outlook on life and a potent tenacity to move forward. At this point I'm thinking to myself: if this guy really did have a positive outlook and potent tenacity, would he really embody a white-trash idiot to perfection?

Obviously, one can say I'm applying too much logic to a movie of this sort. But my above observation sums up the film's problem; the audience is expected to like the character of Joe Dirt, yet the movie clearly doesn't. It's like if "Wayne's World" was told through the eyes of Rob Lowe's villain. The movie hates this guy, why should we cheer for him? At about the midpoint, I did feel sorry for him, but that's not the same thing.

Joe Dirt is played by David Spade, who also co-wrote the screenplay. His underdog persona and sardonic wit work fairly well on NBC's "Just Shoot Me". His big screen forays haven't been nearly as effective. The movie spends so much time putting Dirt through a conveyor of condescending slapstick - everything from dousing him in crap (real crap, that is) to being cruelly laughed at and beaten up to even being tossed around by a crocodile - then pulling a one-eighty and hoping to gain the audience's sympathy. I'm all for sympathizing with a main character, but you can't expect me to love him after going to such lengths in humiliating him.

Consider the aforementioned "Wayne's World". Both films are about quirky and unusual characters, yet the respective tones sit at opposite ends of the comic spectrum. Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar - like Joe Dirt - are quirky and unusual outcasts who hold their own view of the world they inhabit. But that movie clearly loved Wayne and Garth. It was their world, and the story was told from their unique perspectives. I think the filmmakers here wer