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'Joe Dirt': You Are What You Shovel

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 11, 2001


    'Joe Dirt' David Spade takes the mullet look to new heights in "Joe Dirt." (Columbia Pictures)
David Spade probably couldn't get a role as the turkey in a first-grade Thanksgiving pageant, yet the snide and moronic weasel can star in a motion picture. At this point, we are supposed to say, "Is this a great country or what?" Instead we should be asking ourselves why so noble a nation would produce swill like "Joe Dirt."

In the hierarchy of idiot child-men, Spade ranks beneath Rob Schneider, the poor man's Adam Sandler. It's hardly a shock to discover that Sandler is one of "Dirt's" executive producers and that Spade co-wrote this humorless comedy about an optimistic loser. His motto: "Negativity's puke, don't eat it. Life's a garden, dig it."

Joe, who was abandoned by his parents in 1975, has been living on his own since he was 8, and he has been searching for them ever since. He still hasn't figured out that they left him in that dumpster on purpose. But then Joe has the IQ of a larva. His search has resulted in kooky misadventures. Many involve raw sewage. None is remotely amusing or worthy of note.

Nevertheless, Joe becomes a national phenomenon when he lands on a Los Angeles radio program hosted by a shock jock (Dennis Miller) whose attempts to belittle him only increase Joe's popularity. Before you know it, he's drawing adoring crowds, doing talk shows and appearing on the covers of national magazines.

Best of all, he winds up with the luscious, leggy girl of his dreams. When was the last time you saw a trophy gal hanging on the arm of an impoverished oaf? But in the fantasy world of Spade, Sandler, Schneider et al., no Gump gets dumped. There's just something so sexy about a doofus dunked in excrement.

Life is a garden. If something stinks, bury it.

"Joe Dirt" (93 minutes) is rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and for language.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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