Can you guys believe that we won’t get Transformers 5 until 2017? Yes, thankfully Michael Bay’s decision to try to pretend he’s respectable has him caught up making that hot button flick 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. You go, Michael Bay, the world’s most overblown story deserves its most overblown director. But this left me with a quandary: what could I watch in 2015 for my semi-regular horrorble segment? After all, this was the first year John trusted me enough to make it a formal part of Shocktober, I didn’t want to let him down. So I gave myself a real challenge, the one type of movie I’m most afraid to review: a bad comedy. Maybe the worst.
Let me begin by saying that I don’t actually bear any ill will toward the first Joe Dirt. That movie came out in practically a different world, way back in April 2001. I didn’t see it then, but it wasn’t long after when I saw it at Peter Williams’ house and more or less enjoyed its juvenile humor. After all, I was a juvenile. As I got older, the jokes about testicles and canisters full of feces lost their appeal, but the film still seemed to have that southern, good-natured charm to it when I would see parts on TV. It probably sucks, but that wasn’t my problem. No, my problem, as always, was with idiots on the Internet. I just didn’t know it yet.
According to America’s leading news source, Wikipedia, Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser was made because jackasses all over this beautiful nation kept fucking talking about it. Every time the original movie was on TV, people were tweeting about it. David Spade would do an AMA on Reddit, and these people would be like “where’s that Joe Dirt sequel? I need a sequel to that movie. Those characters are so good, I need to know more about their lives after they drive off happily into the sunset.” Sony heard all this and decided that the demand was there, and that this would be a great opportunity to launch original movies on that website you’ve heard about but never actually visited, Crackle.
Just think for a minute how many people it must have taken to get a new Joe Dirt movie. A sequel to a modest box office success 14 years later? Sure, you could argue it’s kind of like a cult classic, I guess, but it doesn’t feel that way. Super Troopers, I get that. But Joe Dirt? We can’t get a sequel to Dredd but this is no biggie? Who were all these people? Where are they? How loud were they? Was it secretly just Kid Rock? Come on, you can tell me.
I assume you remember where we left off, right? Joe Dirt (David Spade) married the love of his life, Brandy (Brittany Daniel). If you don’t remember that, Dennis Miller is back to remind you in the form of telling the story of Joe Dirt to two older gentlemen at like a gas station in the middle of nowhere. His role in the story does not make sense, which is why, after some fast-paced, forgettable insults, it cuts from Miller to Dirt, who is sitting at a bus stop, Forrest Gump-style. Just like that movie, when a stranger sits down next to Gump he begins telling his story. So that’s how this is going to work, Miller is telling the story of Dirt telling the story of his latest adventure. A flashback within a flashback. This is important, remember this.
After marrying Brandy, Joe’s life was pretty good. He had his car, his girl, the trailer of his dreams, and soon enough Brandy was pregnant. In a bizarre childbirthing scene featuring what are only the first examples of Beautiful Loser‘s negative portrayal of doctors, Brandy gives birth to triplets. We then see a montage of Joe being an idiotic but loving father, and finally, when his daughters are about 10, we learn that he has become a lumberjack to provide for his family.
The other lumberjacks (a group of gruff men and one supermodel lady) are not very accepting of Dirt, and one day at lunch they all start farting on him. Like walking over to him, releasing poo gas, laughing, then moving away so someone else can do it. This goes on for like five minutes. It’s just fart city. Perhaps Spade and director/co-writer Fred Wolf wanted to try to get the most on-screen farts in a movie record, but also felt they had to do it in just one scene. We’re only about 10 minutes into the almost two hour movie, and already we’ve hit a low point for American decency. But maybe the idea of a hot lady farting is like really funny to you?
Finally Brandy shows up with the kids and intervenes in the gang farting by drop-kicking someone. Dirt’s daughters are shocked to see him treated like this, and Joe fears he’s lost their love and respect. Later, as they’re heading home, a tornado appears nearby. The family rushes into a shelter, but one of Joe’s daughters asks for something she left in their trailer. A doll? I don’t remember and the movie doesn’t either, it won’t come up again. So Joe, wanting to be seen as a hero again, rushes off to the trailer. But as soon as he gets inside it, the tornado lifts the trailer up and throws it…
…To the 1960s. The trailer comes crashing down on a biker gang, crushing their leader. This causes the gang’s vice president (Patrick Warburton, trying so hard to make this work) to remove the dead man’s ruby boots and present them to Joe, declaring him the new leader of the gang. At first Joe is pretty excited about this, but as he slowly realizes that he’s in the past and that the gang only want to do violent things, he starts a fight with them and runs away.
At this point the movie switches from The Wizard of Oz to Back to the Future, as Joe does things like buy classic comic books on the cheap and bury them so he can find them in the future. He also flirts with Brandy’s mom (also played by Brittany Daniel) who is a high school student and on a date with a young man who wants to pull the ol’ penis in the popcorn trick. Joe warns her, although god knows how he knows this is going down, he wasn’t there to see this. He also flirts with Brandy’s mom, which is creepy, but not as creepy as what happens next. You see, the popcorn dick guy’s family shows up and the all wall popcorn so they jerk him off. It is insanely revolting. Come on, you guys. I can handle farts and poop and whatever, but this is one of the most fucked up things I’ve seen.
Joe extricates himself from that situation and ends up at like a sock hop where everyone’s having an OK time with a band that just so happens to be made up of the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, who are still in high school and not called that yet. Joe’s a big fan of the band but the writers don’t expect you to be, as they have him sit down with the band and basically tell them to write “Free Bird.” He also tells them to change their name, hinting at Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they don’t get it. Instead they propose tough band names like “Wham” and other more effeminate bands of the future. It’s an all right bit, and a sign that the movie has at least moved beyond its lowest lows.
So Joe remembers that the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd he’s hanging out with are going to die in a plane crash, which he decides not to mention or even hint at… For some reason. Do we suddenly believe in messing with the time continuum? If that’s the case, it seems to only matter in this one scene. It’s not like Joe cares, or is even trying particularly hard to get back to 2015. Anyway, Joe gets chased by Patrick Warburton’s gang again and ends up hitching a ride on a train. Enter the dream sequence (within a flashback, within a flashback).
As Joe falls asleep on the train, he finds himself in present day, confronted by Kickin’ Wing (Adam Beach) who has changed his name to Kickin’ Ass. He’s gotten into dealing drugs, which enables the film to rehash that bit from the first movie in which Joe lists the names of drugs. None of them are funny. Not one. It’s just David Spade rattling words for a couple minutes. The closest they get is when he says one drug, then stops and says that he thinks that was the name of a firework. IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME. Anyway, Kickin’ Ass has some babes with him, and they insult Joe, so Joe throws an insult back at them, since this is a dream and he knows he can get away with it. Then the movie does this:
Not only does this image combine two Internet memes into one, it also drives home one point incredibly deep: David Spade is in his fifties. He’s been on several hit TV shows and a few good-ish movies. Right now he’s in the news because his autobiography is supposed to be pretty great. What is he doing? Why did he do this to himself? Is it just that Joe Dirt is the only character he ever played that wasn’t more or less himself? Beautiful Loser seems designed to mercilessly beat the crap out of ol’ Joe Dirt, are you OK David? Do you hate this character? Do you hate your career? Do you hate yourself? Do you hate me?
Immediately after hopping off the train, Joe runs into a couple of thugs who harvest his organs and, I guess as a joke, replace them with toys that make noises when Joe moves in one scene and then never again. They leave him on what appears to be a desert island, which is weird, and then we cut to 10 years later. Ten years. Into the Seventies now. That’s a long time. Especially because the desert island set seems ridiculously small, maybe just 20 feet of beach.
Well, there’s a reason for that. Joe finds out that at the top of the hill behind him is Miami. He was never on an island at all! And in 10 years, he never heard the sounds of boats or the big city. Never climbed the hill to survey the island. Never did anything but sit there, for 10 years. I guess we’re all supposed to think this is really dumb, but it’s just so dumb it still bothers me. He climbs the hill and ends up running into Christopher Walken in the city.
Christopher Walken was one of the best parts of the first movie, playing a gangster in witness protection who just loves his wife so much that he can’t hide that erection. Now we get a chance to see his character back in the day, and it is the only enjoyable part of the movie. Joe runs into him at a club, then convinces him that he’s from the future by using his encyclopedic knowledge of NASCAR to predict the outcome of a race. They go into the betting business together, ala Back to the Future Part II, and the years again start to pass.
Eventually Joe realizes that it’s almost the day he is supposed to meet Brandy. He sits down with Christopher Walken and talks about his problem and Walken gives an insane speech about motivational cat posters. It’s so weird I’m into it, and so is Joe, who resolves to go recreate his meeting with Brandy. But first they share a drink, which is a bad idea, because Joe, despite all the money he’s made in the past few decades, still doesn’t have a bunch of internal organs.
Joe wakes up in the hospital, where a doctor who is just trying to start some shit tells Joe that he got crazy drunk and smashed in the balls after starting a fight. Then they show us video of it, explaining the Japanese tourists were there to tape it. It’s not a funny crotch hit, all things considered. Anyway, the doctor says Joe’s balls are way up inside him, and that he has to use tongs to pull them back down. Which he does, but goes too far, and now Joe has really long balls. But time is still a factor, so Joe runs out of the hospital, wearing a gown and nothing else, to catch a flight so he can still meet Brandy at the right moment.
This is the testicle part of the movie. I guess it’s thematically relevant, because Joe met Brandy when her dog’s scrotum froze to her front porch. Only this time, what happens is Joe sits down on the airplane toilet and his testes are so far descended that they get sucked down there with everything else. So the stewardesses laugh and puke and try to help him and it goes on forever. Eventually the plane lands and they remove the whole toilet from it, Joe included, and slowly drive it across the tarmac. How embarrassing. Joe asks how long it will take to get him out, they tell him it will be hours. Just like everything in this movie.
Joe makes it to Brandy’s place, but it’s too late, Joe’s romantic rival has gotten there and saved the dog already. This guy was set up earlier in the movie but I forgot. Anyway, they get together and Joe loses all hope and as we ease into present day, we realize this is the point at which Joe had sat down at the bus stop to tell his story. The woman he was talking to leaves, but that’s fine because now we meet Patrick Warburton again, this time dressed in a nice suit. He explains to Joe that he’s his guardian angel and that he wants to show Joe something. Enter the It’s a Wonderful Life part of the movie.
The two of them go to a party at the mansion that belongs to Brandy and the romantic rival guy, who are now married. Then for some reason we get like a five minute scene of romantic rival guy and his friends shoving… I think drugs or booze or something… up their butts. Joe comes in and they make fun of him, which is just par for the course. Then the romantic rival goes off to have sex with random babes, and Joe continues to search the party for Brandy.
He finds her sitting with her hot friend who is really trying to have sex with her. Brandy explains to Joe that she’s sad and her life didn’t work out, and Brandy’s hot friend just keeps trying to have sex with her. Like, I guess the joke is that lesbians are funny? Or that it’s funny that Joe is somehow ruining a lesbian’s chance to have sex with a heterosexual woman? Anyway, Brandy straight-up leaves.
So now Joe is just at this party. Then Patrick Warburton shows up and he’s like, “see, having money didn’t make Brandy happy.” Which isn’t the point of the movie, but I guess it is now. Before Joe was worried that his daughters didn’t respect him, but I guess it’s too hard to resolve that in an alternate timeline where his daughters don’t exist. After all this, another lady, who we briefly saw earlier, shows up and explains that she is Patrick Warburton’s boss. It’s totally unnecessary, but it gives the movie a chance to have a quick sassy black lady bit. Then Patrick Warburton hits Joe in the face and Joe wakes up surrounded by his daughters.
Having learned his lesson, Joe was returned right back to where he left. He’s overjoyed to have his family back, although probably not enough, right? I mean, first of all, how old is Joe now? Like over 100? It had been like 60 years since he was last with his family, 60 years in which he never aged or changed. Sure, you could say it was all a dream, but you’d be wrong. Because the family goes for a walk and they find the comics that Joe buried in the Sixties. So that happened, he really went back in time. But then what about that alternate future? How does that work? How does any of this make sense?
I won’t go on another time travel rant, you people don’t need that from me. But time is definitely Beautiful Loser‘s biggest problem. Every single scene goes on too long. Every single joke is repeated and repeated and repeated until any kernels of comedy have been crushed into oblivion. It’s like they couldn’t afford to leave a single second on the cutting room floor. And since it’s an Internet movie, maybe that’s true.
Time is also a problem in that fourteen years is a strange gap between movies. I think there’s only a small window of time in which it’s OK to make a sequel to a movie, then it gets weird until it’s been like decades and the sequel can just be something new. Otherwise you get Men in Black 3 or the recent Die Hard movies. Joe Dirt came out before 9/11, smartphones, and America’s Next Top Model. It’s from a different world, and I think it fits so poorly into today that it’s no wonder they went with a time travel story.
So yeah, this year I spent nearly two hours watching farts and scrotes. There were a couple times when I was feeling it; Joe Dirt gets some funny lines and Patrick Warburton and Christopher Walken do their damndest to keep you interested. It’s a comedy and it’s absolutely jammed pack with jokes, the only problem is that I don’t think they’re funny and they keep repeating them over and over. But maybe someone else out there thinks they’re funny, after all comedy is subjective and that’s why I was so afraid to try to tackle a bad movie in this genre. I just feel bad that that person probably will never get to see this movie, because they probably don’t have enough cognitive ability to use a computer.