Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt is a 2001 comedy film starring David Spade, Dennis Miller, Christopher Walken, Brittany Daniel, Jaime Pressly, Erik Per Sullivan, Adam Beach and Kid Rock. The film was written by David Spade and Fred Wolf.


The film opens at a Los Angeles radio station, where Joe Dirt (David Spade) works as a janitor and lives in a boiler room.

When a producer at the radio station discovers Joe getting bullied in the hallway, the producer finds Joe's natural white trashiness too impossible to be believed, and insists he be brought into the studio to talk live on the air with a disc jockey named Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller).

The bulk of the movie consists of Joe recounting his life story in flashbacks to Zander Kelly who, along with the audience, seeks laughs at Joe's expense in a Howard Stern-style.

Joe's life story begins with him being abandoned at the Grand Canyon at the age of 8. After growing up in a series of bizarre foster homes, Joe, finds himself living in the town of Silvertown, Idaho, where he pursues a love interest named Brandy (Brittany Daniel), while evading a bully named Robby (Kid Rock).

After a bizarre twists of events leads to the death of Brandy's pet dog, a reflective Joe feels the need to seek out his estranged parents.

The search for his parents leads Joe on a series of bizarre adventures, meeting colorful characters and working bizarre odd jobs, eventually leading to his job at the radio station.

Joe also recounts how, at one point, he decided to give up the search and return to Silvertown to be with Brandy, but then he got there, Robby informed him that Brandy found Joe's parents, but instructed Robby not to tell Joe, and Robby produced a note from Brandy to prove it.

Hearing this, Zander insists on getting Brandy on the phone to find out why she did this. Brandy admits to writing the note to Robby, but she says she did it because she wanted to tell Joe in person, but never had the opportunity. Brandy goes on to tell Joe that his parents were killed the day they were at the Grand Canyon, and pleads with Joe to come back to Silvertown.

Joe is unaware, however, that recounting his story on the radio has won the hearts of listeners, and made him a media sensation.

The media exposure results in a phone call from a woman claiming to be Joe's mother.

Joe goes to meet her, but is disappointed to discover that his parents are really just using Joe's publicity to help sell clown figurines. When asked how they could simply abandon him at the Grand Canyon, Joe's father replies "How exactly does the posi-trac rear end on a Plymouth work? It just does!"

Depressed, Joe goes to a bridge to commit suicide, but Brandy appears and says that she only told Joe his parents were dead to protect him when she found out what horrible people they were.

A policeman tosses a bungee jumping cord around Joe to stop him from jumping, but inadvertently pushes Joe over the edge. The bungee cord breaks Joe's fall, but as Joe bounces back upward, he hits his head on the bridge and is knocked unconscious.

Joe wakes up in Brandys house, surrounded by Brandy and other friends he's met on his journey, and he realizes they are like a family to him.



The film's critical reception has been generally negative. The film has an average rating of 3 out of 10 with an 11% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and has gained 5 out of 10 stars at IMDB.

Ebert and Roeper both gave the movie a thumbs down. Roeper criticized the comedy for being predictable and strained, and he felt the radio station storyline was absurd. Ebert agreed, but praised Spade for taking on a different role than he is normally associated with, and added that Spade's performance was convincing, despite the film's other shortcomings.

Despite the poor reviews, the film did earn 27 million dollars in the US, recouping its 16 million dollar budget . On the DVD commentary, Spade states that at the time of recording, Joe Dirt is the number one film in New Zealand, and jokingly adds "It's a country the size of K-Mart, but we'll take it".

Joe Dirt has frequently been a topic of discussion on Dennis Miller's real-life radio show, and he has actually interviewed David Spade on the show.


Spade, David, Life of Joe Dirt, p. 177-178, American Printing Press

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