"Wanted: Some Good Taste"
What You Need To Know:
Of course, there’s a lot of stupid, sometimes gross and offensive, humor in JOE DIRT, including some bathroom humor. Interspersed between such scenes as these are some funny bits with Christopher Walken as a mysterious school janitor, with Dennis Miller as the incredulous radio host and with an assortment of other goofy characters. Despite these few positive elements, JOE DIRT has more than enough sleazy moments not to recommend it, including a rotten scene where the abuse of a cow with a firecracker backfires.
(PaPa, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, A, D, MM) Pagan worldview that attacks traditional notions of the family while presenting a subtext that favors the idea of adoption & the idea that “home is where you find it,” plus some implied but brief homosexual references; 38 obscenities (including some “dangs”), 12 profanities, bathroom humor, & sex jokes; slapstick violence including fantasy scene about nuclear explosion; implied fornication; partial nudity & women in revealing clothes; alcohol use; smoking; and, animal abuse, extortion & making light of incest.
JOE DIRT is a goofy numskull comedy written by and starring comedian David Spade (TOMMY BOY). It’s produced by comedian Adam Sandler, who has specialized in doing his own numskull comedies like THE WATERBOY.
In the story, Spade plays a young man who grows up apart from his parents after he gets separated from them during a trip to the Grand Canyon. While working as a janitor at a radio station, one of the talk show hosts, Zander Kelly, takes an interest in Joe’s life story. While mocking Joe’s white trash appearance, Zander becomes fascinated by Joe’s search for his parents, which Joe describes in comic, self-deprecating detail over the air. Zander’s audience also becomes enthralled.
Of course, there’s a lot of stupid, sometimes gross and offensive, humor in JOE DIRT. At one point, Joe finds a meteor which turns out to be a load of frozen feces dropped from an airplane and not the object full of precious metals Joe thinks it is. At another point, the atom bomb Joe finds in the desert turns out to be a septic tank from a recreational vehicle. In another scene, Joe falls in lust with a young woman who might be his sister.
Interspersed between such scenes as these are some funny bits with Christopher Walken as a mysterious school janitor, with Dennis Miller as the incredulous radio host and with an assortment of other goofy characters. One of the best scenes is when Joe meets an American Indian selling firecrackers, and Spade rattles off a bunch of crazy nicknames for different kinds of firecrackers. The movie manages to create some sympathy for Joe’s search for his parents and for his friendship with a pretty blonde girl named Brandy, played by Brittany Daniel. Brandy clearly loves Joe, but Joe thinks she’s too good for him. They remain close friends throughout the movie, until he realizes that she really does like him. In that way, the movie presents a good pattern for how friendship with a member of the opposite sex can turn into real love.
Despite these positive elements, JOE DIRT has enough sleazy moments not to recommend it. Besides the aforementioned jokes about toilets and incest, the movie shows Joe using firecrackers to abuse cows, for example. Furthermore, although Joe finds an adoptive family that cares about him, he discovers some unpleasant truths about his real parents. Even Brandy’s own father is depicted as a mean-tempered, no-account drunk. Thus, the movie contains some awful, cynical digs against traditional family values.
Before he started making wonderful movies like PARENTHOOD, ROXANNE and FATHER OF THE BRIDE, Steve Martin made a name for himself performing in silly numskull comedies like THE JERK. In THE JERK, Martin played a naïve, stupid fellow who goes from one goofy situation to another. In many ways, except for the crude bathroom humor, JOE DIRT may remind some viewers of a movie like THE JERK. One only wishes that the filmmakers who make this kind of comedy would have more taste when it comes to creating them. Even when dealing with numskulls, clever jokes will always be more fun than cheap ones.