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Dennie Gordon
Dev Patel, David Spade, Brittany Daniel, Dennis Miller, Adam Beach, Christopher Walken, Jaime Pressly, Kid Rock
Writing Credits:
David Spade, Fred Wolf

After being abandoned by his parents at the Grand Canyon, Joe Dirt tells the story of his journey to find his parents.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$8,016,008 on 2,638 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 7/7/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director Dennie Gordon
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Actor David Spade
• “The Making of Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser” Featurette
• “Joe Dirt: The Return” Featurette
• Outtakes and Bloopers
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Joe Dirt [Blu-Ray] (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 30, 2015)

Although Joe Dirt boasts no formal connection to Saturday Night Live, it feels like one of the show’s movie spin-offs. Does anything differentiate Dirt from flicks like Wayne’s World, Superstar or Coneheads? Not really, other than the fact it didn’t originate with a sketch character.

Instead, it just feels like Joe Dirt was someone we might have seen on SNL. As created by SNL veteran David Spade, the eponymous character resembles the sort of one-note role often featured in the program’s sketches. This kind of part might work fine for a five-minute skit, but he doesn’t sustain a feature film well.

Joe Dirt uses a time-honored flashback narrative to tell the tale of the title character. When we meet him, Joe works as a janitor at an LA radio station. He quickly comes to the attention of Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller), a rude radio personality in the same vein as Howard Stern. Joe’s redneck tendencies make him an easy target for Kelly, who prompts Joe to tell his life story.

From there, we spend most of the film in the past. We see how Joe got detached from his parents, who he attempts to find through much of the movie.

We also watch as Joe meets Brandy (Brittany Daniel), a sexy babe with whom he becomes friends. However, Joe and Brandy don’t take the relationship past the level of friendship, mainly because Joe feels she’s too hot for him. That’s true, though Brandy clearly thinks differently.

We watch Joe as he covers the nation in search of his family. He encounters many different folks, from Indian fireworks stand owner/aspiring veterinarian Kicking Wing (Adam Beach) to Clem (Christopher Walken), an elementary school janitor with a secret. Joe’s quest leads them through his life, and he encounters many comic situations along the way.

Perhaps I should call these “allegedly comic situations”, for Joe Dirt provides precious few laughs. I can’t call myself a big fan of Spade’s work, but I think he can be quite amusing given the right material.

Joe Dirt doesn’t match that distinction, as it offers little more than 91 minutes of crude material. Spade seems to think that the combination of gross-out gags and a moronic but kind-hearted lead will create a hilarious piece.

Part of the problem stems from Spade’s attempt to spread his wings. He mastered a cynical, selfish and sarcastic persona that suited him well for Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, but he backs away from that tone here. Joe’s too dumb to display the self-awareness of other Spade roles, and while it’s nice to see him attempt something different, this stab fails due to a lack of personality.

Spade feels oddly subdued and restrained throughout most of the film. He gets off a couple of decent lines, but for the most part, he appears strangely drab and lifeless as Joe. Spade does little to make the role stand out, and he comes across like a bit of a cipher at the head of the movie.

Dirt doesn’t attempt to match the gross-out heights of some contemporary flicks like Saving Silverman. In a way, that makes its crude bits more unpleasant, if just because they became less predictable. There’s some really disgusting material on display at times; Dirt lacks the frequency, but the intensity remains.

Joe Dirt can’t decide if it wants to mock its white trash hero or embrace him. As such, the film becomes something of a confused mish-mash that never seems very coherent. That flaw could be forgiven if the humor worked, but unfortunately, most of the movie’s gags fall flat, and the film becomes a lackluster, uninvolving piece.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Joe Dirt appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a pretty positive presentation.

For the most part, sharpness appeared good. A little softness crept into the image at times, but the majority of the flick seemed reasonably accurate and concise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to pop up here.

Colors looked mostly bright and vibrant. Dirt provided a fairly broad and varied palette that used a number of different hues to its advantage. These tended to come across as clear and accurate. Black levels were deep and rich, and shadow detail looked appropriately heavy but not excessively opaque. This was an appealing presentation.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Like most comedies, the soundfield of Dirt offered a relatively subdued affair, but the mix provided a reasonably involving experience when necessary.

The forward spectrum dominated the track, as I heard good stereo separation for the music and positive placement for effects. Those latter elements showed fine localization and smooth panning, and the surrounds also added a nice level of reinforcement. For the most part, the rear channels mainly stayed with general ambience, but they came nicely to life on a few occasions, such as when the “meteorite” plunged to earth.

Audio quality seemed to be fairly solid. As a whole speech was acceptably natural and distinct, with no edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music was nicely vibrant and lively, as the score and the many period tunes offered clear highs and good lows that made them pack a nice punch.

Effects also came across as clear and accurate, and they could boast a lot of bass at times. For example, I thought the nuclear blast would devastate my house. Overall, this was a relatively modest track, but Joe Dirt sounded good enough to warrant a “B”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2001 DVD? Audio showed a bit more pep and range, while visuals looked cleaner, tighter and more accurate. The Blu-ray presented good improvements over the DVD.

The Blu-ray mixes old and new extras, and we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first offers a running, screen-specific affair from actor/co-writer David Spade. Objectively, this is a pretty spotty track, as Spade provides only a little real information about the film, and a fair number of gaps appear throughout the commentary. The latter never become overwhelming in length, but they add up due to volume.

Despite those concerns, I like Spade’s track, for he offers just enough humor to make it worthwhile. Not surprisingly, he takes a semi-mocking tone toward the flick and himself, and this makes the track rather enjoyable. Spade’s more than happy to point out various flaws, so the commentary turns into a moderate amount of fun.

The second track comes from director Dennie Gordon, who also contributes a running, screen-specific affair. Unfortunately, her commentary isn’t nearly as witty and entertaining as Spade’s. She contributes a bit more information than he does, but she also seems a lot more pleased with herself and the film.

Much of Gordon’s track sticks with bland thoughts about how great everyone was and how funny everything is. That tone would be tiresome under the best of conditions, but it seems especially weak after Spade’s witty track. On the positive side, Gordon appears fairly personable and engaging, which helps let the commentary pass more quickly. Nonetheless, it’s a bland piece that doesn’t add a whole lot of good information.

Next we get a collection of seven Deleted Scenes. We find these segments: “The Meteorite” (0:29), “8-Track Tape” (0:47), “Friendly Neighbors” (0:44), “Happy Dog” (0:24), “Ride to the Airport” (0:43), “Space Stuff” (0:21) and “Whatever Joe Wants” (0:21). These all offer short comedic tidbits but nothing memorable.

Note that “Meteorite”, “Tape” and “Neighbors” appeared on the DVD but the other four are new to the Blu-ray. We get commentary from Gordon for the three scenes from the DVD. She sheds a little light on the reasons for their excision, which is about all she can do given their brief running times.

The Bloopers and Outtakes Reel adds three minutes and six seconds of footage. This is the usual batch of silliness, though the presence of Spade and Dennis Miller makes it more entertaining than most.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get two new extras, both of which relate to the movie’s 2015 sequel. The Making of Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser runs four minutes, 29 seconds and includes comments from Spade and actors Brittany Daniel and Mark McGrath. This gives us some basics about the new movie. As expected, it’s little more than a promo.

Joe Dirt – The Return goes for three minutes, 40 seconds and features Daniel, McGrath, Spade, co-writer Fred Wolf, and actor Patrick Warburton. “Return” tells us that the first film became a cult classic and touts the sequel. It’s more interesting than “Making” but not by much.

While Joe Dirt isn’t the worst of the “gross-out” movies I’ve seen, it still provides a pretty weak experience. The flick generates a laugh or two, but most of it falls flat. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio as well as a reasonably positive package of supplements. Joe Dirt remains a witless comedy.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of JOE DIRT

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