By Christian DiMartino
When Joe Dirt opened roughly 15 years ago, it was a critical flop. But since then, the David Spade comedy has become something of a classic. Nearly everyone I know eats that crap up. I had never seen it up until last year, but when I shared my views, I received the cold shoulder. Sorry, but I’m siding with the critics on this one. Joe Dirt blows.
Now, those people who like it say so because it’s so stupid it’s funny. And don’t get me wrong: I love a great amount of stupid comedies. Take Dumb and Dumber, Airplane, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, or They Came Together for example. But yet the jokes in those films feel inspired. They might be stupid, but yet there’s a certain cleverness to the stupidity. I never really sensed a cleverness in Joe Dirt. It’s a film written by those who think poop meteors, frozen dog ballsacks, and well, Spade in anything after The Emperor’s New Groove (the end of an era) are funny. If any of those (especially the first two) are funny, then go right ahead. But I don’t like my stupidity to be so obvious. Or gross.
Spade plays the title role, a mulleted janitor who was abandoned by his parents at the Grand Canyon when he was just a wee lad. Most of the film is narrated by Joe, who is telling his story to a radio host (Dennis Miller, one of the few saving graces here), who, like us, can tell that he’s a total moron. Joe then tells his tale of how he went to search for his parents, and the shenanigans along the way. Christopher Walken shows up along the way, providing the film’s other saving grace.
When Miller and Walken get their moments, it kind of works. Trouble is, the damn thing just isn’t funny to me. I sat there with a blank face a lot of the time, and when it wasn’t blank, it was covered by my hands. Or, I was cringing.
So, throw your trash and outrage at me if you want. I realize that I am alone on this. I thought this was a strange choice for my “Film Confessions” segment, but they recently made a sequel… that was released on Crackle. Sounds promising. I’m sure there were people out there who were actually somewhat excited for it, and truth be told, I wish I could join you.