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JOE DIRT

SYNOPSIS:
Joe Dirt (David Spade) works as a cleaner at an FM radio station in Los Angeles. Shock-jock Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller), finding Joe to be a classic example of poor white trash, invites him on air with the intention of ridiculing him. What the listeners hear is a tale of misadventure, misfortune and mayhem as the self-confessed “white-trash” journeyman crosses the paths of an alligator trainer (Rosanna Arquette), an unusual school janitor (Christopher Walken) and a native American fireworks peddler (Adam Beach). They also hear how he almost met a grisly end at the hands of a psychopath, and most poignantly how he almost found true love with the sweet and beautiful Brandy (Brittany Daniel), the one person who may yet be able to help him in his seemingly vain quest for his parents.

"Check the pedigree of this film first and you may want to proceed no further. Producers Robert Simonds and Ira Shuman are collectively responsible for bringing the world all of Adam Sandler's films and other subtle comedies including Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Problem Child and Airheads. Adam Sandler is one of the executive producers and it stars comedian David Spade, who co-starred with the late Chris Farley in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. If the roll-call appeals, Joe Dirt is the film for you. If not, be prepared for a painfully unfunny and rather sad attempt to transport the spirit of Frank Capra to the trailer trash milieu. Strung together as a series of vignettes during an extended interview with smarmy Los Angeles DJ, Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller), Joe's odyssey in search of the parents who dumped him at the Grand Canyon in1975 is another willing entry in the lowbrow gross-out stakes. Along the way we’re treated to rib-tickling delights including dog testicles frozen to a porch, exploding septic tanks, a transvestite serial killer and incest gags, none of which raises the tone much above that of a freak show that sneers at its subject while pretending to celebrate the indomitable spirit of its "simple man" hero. Spade is working with such dreadful material it's hard to care about his plight and even harder to believe the worldwide hero status the broadcast inspires. Cameos from Christopher Walken (whose real hair is even more alarming than Spade's wig), Joe Don Baker and Patricia Arquette - as a crocodile farmer, no less - do nothing to stifle groans as the parade of juvenile gags is trotted out. Fans of Jerry Springer and brain dead rock'n'roll from the 70s and 80s (the soundtrack is loaded with Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Blue Oyster Cult and Cheap Trick) might find Nirvana in the sad and sorry tale of Joe Dirt. Purgatory awaits the rest of us."
Richard Kuipers

“Joe Dirt has been handed one of life’s most bitter chocolates. He is a little brighter than Forrest Gump - or, at least more self-aware - but rather more pathetic. A born loser, he stares fate in the face and continues to brandish an overwhelmingly positive spirit as it sneers back at him. This is a man who looks contemplatively at the moon, and gets mooned by a pilot. There is plenty of David Spade’s character in the TV-sitcom Just Shoot Me here. He plays outsiders who yearn to be cool, know they aren’t, and confront the world with a self-conscious individuality that says “if I conform I’m nobody so I’ll play the no shame game”. The film reeks of being written as a vehicle for Spade, and . . . a check of the credits . . . he wrote it himself. Obviously resigned to being typecast he does play the role with an endearing self-mockery. The great weakness of the film is its reliance on episodic slapstick of the lowest kind. Scatology and a desperado with his head in alligator’s jaws are about as subtle a form of humour as a dog with its testicles frozen to a porch. There’s one of those too. An appearance by Christopher Walken does make an impressive but all too brief impact, and grounding the story between the sight “gags”, Dennis Miller is excellent as the shock jock whose sleazy exploitation affords our protagonist the opportunity to narrate his saga. Mr F. Gump told his fabulous story to the bus-stop commuter, Mr. J. Dirt tells a less grand but no less extraordinary fable to a captivated audience. His sudden fame via reality radio does ring true in this age of Big Brother, but Dirt, the desperado journeyman, is a cipher, not a fleshed-out character. The film is neither powerful nor funny but its up-beat flavour and Spade’s quirky charm make it more watchable than its many flaws warrant.”
Brad Green

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

JOE DIRT (M)
(US)

CAST: David Spade, Christopher Walken, Dennis Miller, Kid Rock

DIRECTOR: Dennie Gordon

PRODUCER: Robert Simonds

SCRIPT: David Spade, Fred Wolf

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John R. Leonetti

EDITOR: Peck Prior

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Perry Andelin Blake

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 24, 2001

VIDEODISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: December 5, 2001







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