I have a theory. I believe that there is a formula for every genre that
writers follow when writing a screenplay. I also believe that movies starring
current or former Saturday Night Live members are in a genre of their
own. And yes, they too, have their own formula.
The formula is this: a well-meaning loser whom everybody picks on has
only one goal in mind. The goal changes from film to film, but the process
by which they achieve their goal is the same. They start out failing miserably
at everything they do, but over time they become a hero, and in turn,
loved by everyone. In turn, they achieve their goal. It also has to feature
cameos by former or current Saturday Night Live members, and a few famous
faces. The main character has to meet the one woman who thinks he's something
special, lose her, then get her back. The formula goes on.
Joe Dirt follows the formula to a T. Joe Dirt (David Spade) is a janitor
for a radio station. He gets picked on and harassed by everyone, even
the gate security guard. Then the producer of a talk radio show puts Joe
on the air to talk to the DJ (Dennis Miller, playing Dennis Miller). Joe
tells his life story, about how his parents left him at the Grand Canyon
when he was eight years old. He's been searching for them ever since.
Along the way, he meets some interesting people, who quickly become friends.
He meets an Indian tracker-turned fireworks salesman, a hot woman he believes
is his sister (but has sex with her anyway), and a janitor named Clem
(Christopher Walken), who is in the witness protection program.
The problem with Joe Dirt, is that it's not funny. It has a few moments
here and there, but creates nothing more than a chuckle at the best of
times. David Spade is playing the first likeable character in his career,
and he should stick to the nasty ones. He just tries too hard to beat
the type-casting, and ends up forgetting that laughter is what we want.
The biggest flaw of the film is that his mullet is not even real. Mullets
are funny. Fake mullets are not. Joe Dirt also features the acting debut
of Kid Rock. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? You decide. He's perfect
for the role, but sucks as an actor.
Joe Dirt, though following the formula that has worked so many times,
is not worth seeing. It's clichéd, predictable, and not nearly
funny enough. However, on the plus side, it's a lot better than Ladies
Man. If you like ex-SNL alum movies, watch Wayne's World, Tommy Boy, Coneheads
of the good ones.
Not this one.
The picture and sound are okay, but not spectacular. Columbia is always
good at making decent transfers. If you like this movie, you won't care
about the picture and sound anyway.
The extras include a commentary by director Dennie Gordon, a commentary
by David Spade, outtakes, deleted/alternate scenes, and theatrical trailers.
Joe Dirt, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
91 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring David Spade, Brittany Daniel, Dennis Miller, and Christopher
Written by David Spade and Fred Wolf
Produced by Robert Simonds, Directed by Dennie Gordon.
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