Joe Dirt (2001)

Ha. See, it’s funny because the character’s name is “Joe Dirt,” and that’s a dumb name that nobody would seriously embrace, so therefore it’s funny. Get it? What a funny movie. Ha. His name is “Joe Dirt.” And that’s a terrible name. So funny. So humorous. What comedic genius on display here. Oh, I know you think I’m being sarcastic, and I am, but the truth of the matter is that the name “Joe Dirt,” as little humor as one can find in it, might just be the funniest thing in the movie.

Joe Dirt, as one might suspect, is about a man with the same name. He’s a loser with a bad haircut played by David Spade, and he currently finds himself working as a janitor at an LA radio station. He’s “discovered” one day and brought on as a guest on one of the shows to tell his life story to millions of listeners across the country. That’s our framing device. Most of the movie consists of flashbacks showing us what he’s telling America. It’s not a bad idea. It’s not funny, it’s really contrived, it’s nowhere near as compelling as characters in this movie have been written to believe, but it’s not a bad idea. If the story he tells were engaging or if he were anything more than a boring dummy, or even if the jokes were clever, maybe Joe Dirt would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Dirt’s parents left him at the Grand Canyon when he was eight years old and he’s been on his own ever since. That explains his lack of intelligence. He’s a kind man but not an interesting one, and his journey to try to find his parents is doomed from the get-go because of this. It’s hard to invest in him and his quest. It’s nearly impossible to care. There are no stakes, and whether he finds them or not is ultimately inconsequential.

So, then, the movie has to rely on its sense of humor to get by. Most of the plot is just an excuse to put Dirt in situations that’ll, in theory, be funny. Comedy is one of the most subjective parts of movies and there will, without a doubt, be people who absolutely love Joe Dirt‘s ideas of jokes. It turns out that I am not among them. The movie runs for just over 90 minutes but contained zero laughs, at least for me. It’s incredibly stupid and very uncreative.

It also contains simple platitudes it continues to hammer home, in the least subtle and most basic way possible, I can only theorize because it thinks its target audience isn’t smart enough to understand things that aren’t put directly and obviously in front of their eyes. In a sense, it thinks its audience is as stupid as its protagonist. And considering it consistently mocks his intelligence, think about what the people who made it think about you.

Joe Dirt is a stupid movie about a dumb person going on an inconsequential journey that exists solely to set up uncreative situations that are supposed to but probably won’t make you laugh, all the while spouting well-meaning but meaningless platitudes that are hammered home to the point of exhaustion.

I have nothing more to add beyond that.

Conclusion: Joe Dirt has stupid attempts at humor and can’t fill in that very large hole with strong characters or an interesting story.

Recommendation: Only watch Joe Dirt if you like incredibly stupid comedy.

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