The Adventures of Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt, starring David Spade as a redneck janitor who digs food and clothing out of Dumpsters, has been rated PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor and language. Hell, that makes it sound bearable. Not so, people. Spade puts a soggy sock in the smart mouth he uses so deftly on Just Shoot Me and plays Joe Dirt as a mullet-haired softie searching for the parents who deserted him when he was eight years old. Joe even melts the heart of a radio shock-jock, played by Dennis Miller (seeing Dennis the menace melt isn't pleasant). The heart of the film, in which Joe fights off a white-trash bruiser (Kid Rock in a kick-ass debut) for the love of a sweet thing (Brittany Daniel), is just an excuse for first-time feature director Dennie Gordon to heap cruel humiliations on Joe. They include having our boy attacked by a hungry gator and a cannibal serial killer. No pain, no gain. The cruelest stroke is wasting the great Christopher Walken as a mobster hiding out as a janitor. Walken helps, but he can't deodorize a script (by Spade and Fred Wolf) that smells like uncollected garbage from Adam Sandler, who exec-produced this dead raccoon of a movie for former SNL buddy Spade. Some favor. In one scene, raw sewage is dumped on Joe. See Joe Dirt and you'll know how that feels.

From The Archives Issue 415: February 16, 1984