Joe Dirt | Chicago Reader

Joe Dirt

Contrived yet unpretentious, predictable yet surprising, this underdog comedy and its title character have considerable charm. Joe, played by David Spade, lands a job cleaning a radio studio in LA, where a shock jock decides the pathetic loser will make great fodder for his show. Their ongoing on-air interview, during which Joe tells his life story to an increasingly sympathetic audience, is such a sorry excuse for screenwriting that it actually works—in fact, the whole movie somehow keeps accidentally finding bits of magic as it exploits every genre convention you can think of. The misadventures of the much-maligned hero include encounters with an out-of-his-league woman, whose affection for him seems just as natural as her tendency to wear skimpy outfits, and with a cameo villain (masterfully played by Kid Rock, whose screen presence seems to have motivated some of the more daring camera work). There's a beautifully integrated, cannily surreal subplot that riffs on actor Christopher Walken's tendency to turn up in strange small roles and just enough gratuitous maiming and excrement to secure genre credentials. Dennie Gordon directed a screenplay by Spade and Fred Wolf; with Dennis Miller and Brittany Daniel. 93 min.

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