Snakes and Sparklers
Joe Dirt
Review by Ross Anthony

Born a poor white child then lost during a Grand Canyon family vacation, Joe Dirt spent the rest of his youth searching for his parents. Wielding a mop and janitor cart, Joe has become accustomed to smirking at the onslaught of insults hurdled at his face due to everything loser about him from the out-dated hair style ("Hey, it's a wig, I was born with part of my skull missing") to the 70's Dodge Charger complete with chain steering wheel and footprint gas pedal ("They impounded my Hemi!").

Radio personality Dennis Miller snatches Dirt from the boiler room at the station in search of some on-air fodder, but instead begins what turns out to be a four day saga on the life of Joe Dirt and the quest for his long lost parents. That story is this movie.

Big Laughs: Decapitated Atom Bomb scene. Canine testicles frozen to porch scene. "You're my sister" scene. And the befriended meteor - lonely Spade pulls the rock (like a pal) in a radio-flyer wagon through tall grass plateaus striking a hilarious "Little House on the Prairie" contrast. I enjoyed this odd friendship and was sad to see it end so soon. Though rather subtle, I loved the rough adrenaline-ridden kiss after the oil rigger fight scene - a nice added insight into Joe Dirt.

While the big laughs aren't nearly as numerous as you might hope, chuckles sprout everywhere like weeds in the dirt.

Surprisingly splendidly filmed and sporting a quintessential classic rock sound track, the picture nonetheless squanders some its well-earned climax tension on a silly rope trick. Additionally, the shear linear progression of the tale pulls like gravity on this unexpectedly endearing comedy. Spade does an excellent job playing the loveably pitiful underdog hero, "Without my secret energy pill, I grow weaker and weaker still."

MTV's Carson Daly nutshells Joe's heartfelt plight, "It's like 'Behind the Music' without the music."

  • Joe Dirt. Copyright © 2001. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring David Spade, Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken, Erik per Sullivan, Dennis Miller, Kid Rock, Adam Beach, Jaime Pressly, Fred Ward, Caroline Aaron.
  • Directed by Dennie Gordon.
  • Written by Fred Wolf, David Spade.
  • DP John R. Leonetti.
  • Produced by Robert Simonds, Ira Shuman at Columbia/Happy Madison.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:07:07 PDT