With Joe Dirt, producer Adam Sandler continues to prove his proclivity toward comedies named after the main character (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Deuce Bigalow), and more than ever before, that he's got influence with an array of name actors willing to supply cameos and play down to the material. This last quality doesn't make Joe Dirt a good movie, but it does lend it a certain legitimacy by affiliation, enough so that it falls into the generous category of "better than it could have been." In addition to the usual cast of SNL collaborators, Joe Dirt features the game cooperation of Christopher Walken, Fred Ward, Rosanna Arquette, and Joe Don Baker, among others. David Spade is okay in the title role, but he's basically miscast, having woven a career of pipsqueak bullying marked by sarcastic retorts and insults. He looks less comfortable as the one who gets insulted, no matter how much he may yearn for a career makeover as the sensitive and sympathetic hero who gets the girl. The film offers some brisk and mindless charm functioning as a sort of Homer's Odyssey for morons, but only a couple of the episodes are even worth smiling about, with the lion's share consisting of uninspired slapstick centered around doodoo and food fights. There's not all that much to like in Joe Dirt, but it's hardly worth hating, either.
by Derek Armstrong review