ninth symphony films - movie reviews

JOE DIRT (2001)

DIRECTOR  -  dennie gordon

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  91 minutes

RELEASED  -  11 april 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  columbia pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  joe dirt

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $16,000,000
joe dirt - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from joe dirt at

buy the dvd from joe dirt at

about an idiot oil driller on the search for his parents who abandoned him at the grand canyon when he was a baby.

all of dennis miller's scenes were filmed in one day.


picture from joe dirt

picture from joe dirt

picture from joe dirt


zero out of four possible stars

The excuses the filmmakers of Joe Dirt will invariably include the words "it was meant for 10-year-old boys" when the talk about why they made such a crass and uneventful film. Although his role on "Just Shoot Me" has audiences in stitches most of the time, David Spade hasn't picked the most challenging of roles for his feature film escapades. With such past features as Black Sheep and Tommy Boy under his belt, it doesn't seem as though Spade is going for any Shakespearean type performances in the near future. He hasn't proven himself a valuable commodity on the big screen, with most of his movies grossing low to mid-range figures.

And given that the intended audiences for this film vary in age from ten to ten and encompass only the male half of the population, it's disappointing to see that Spade can be so entertaining on the small screen and pick roles in such uninteresting movies made for the big screen. No filmmakers should have to say that their picture was meant for ten year old boys and ten year old boys only, because it's possible to make a picture, especially a comedy, that's appealing to multiple age groups and genders.

And when one looks at the picture according to that ten year old mentality and set of criteria, the picture doesn't even hold up that well. The jokes are so used and abused that seeing them in this film only serves to remind one that they've been seen before in another movie previous. The multitude of fat jokes, dumb red-neck jokes, and other assorted unfunnies makes this film's short ninety minute running time seem like a year. Spade's character is unsympathetic because he's so incredibly stupid. The antics his character involves himself in aren't funny, they're just used. It's one thing to make a film geared toward young folks that has original humor that might entertain older audiences, but it's hard to laugh at Spade's character when he eats a fast food meal atop a table made out of the petrified bathroom flushing of a 747.

It's easier to label this film as low-brow entertainment, but the fact that all the jokes are recycled and poorly executed only goes to show that this genre, the genre of little boys, is played out. New and interesting material specially created for this demographic might have improved the film, but this film has the appearance of something that was put together at the last minute. Not that much effort was put into the script to begin with. And when the production moved into filming, it made the end result look like something created by a freshman in film school. It's like a glorified dorm story that focuses on the dumb things rednecks do. Like get mullet hair-do's.

In point of fact, the only positive thing about this film was the laugh David Spade's mullet 'do garners from the audience. Though it's not something that will keep viewers laughing about until the end of the film, the make-up department certainly went above the call of duty in making that ridiculous hairstyle. But, as those locks are this picture's only high point, it seems worth pointing out that the supporting cast includes more than one talented face. Dennis Miller and Christopher Walken, both of whom have proven themselves capable performers in other roles, are relegated to playing characters who don't have a lot of interesting things to say.

When all a film has to its credit is a talented make-up department, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the picture. With David Spade and producer Adam Sandler calling the shots on so many mediocre movies, the question has to be asked: are these two comedians on a personal mission to bring America the dumbest comedy known to man to the big screen? It's hard to justify the price of a movie ticket for this film, especially since movie tickets have become more and more of an expensive purchase over the past few years. The Hollywood powers-that-be should be chastised for forcing on the public such sub-standard material. Its like those bigwigs are interested only in money. Wait, that is the only thing they're interested in.

So why produce a picture like this? Do they make money off of video rentals? The bottom line is that the people involved in making this film were assembled to make a quick buck from a minimum of investment. Aside from some kicking tunes on the soundtrack, the filmmakers just didn't try hard enough to make a quality picture. Now, crass humor can be funny, if its done right and with a sense of originality. Like the makers of American Pie from 1999. That film was one of the most crass pieces of film to come out in a long time, but its obvious that a lot of energy was put into that picture. The makers of Joe Dirt must have decided that an insignificant niche market (just those ten year old boys) would be enough of an audience for this film. And even movie savvy ten year olds will probably see through this movie's lame attempt at humor.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs columbia pictures 2001
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