Now this one poses all sorts of questions. For example: Why is there a Joe Dirt sequel? Why did it take 14 years for someone to deliver something nobody asked for? Why is it about 15 minutes longer than the first movie? Why did Crackle choose this to be their first “big” foray into “original” film distribution? Why am I watching/writing about it? Am I insane?
I’m not one to shoot fish in a barrel. I’m certainly no snob when it comes to low comedy, and I have (on occasion) found David Spade to be a pretty funny guy. On the other hand, I thought the first Joe Dirt had maybe three mild chuckles scattered across its obvious, tiresome, and predictably fart-obsessed 91 minutes. and I’ve long since given up on receiving a high-quality comedy film from the fine people at Happy Madison Productions. So while I didn’t have any particularly high hopes for Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, I figured that the lowered budget, the lowered expectations, and the lack of a big-time theatrical distributor would allow Spade and director/co-writer Fred Wolf to take a few chances, try some new things, and actually improve upon what we saw in Joe Dirt.
I figured wrong. Joe Dirt 2 is an exhaustively terrible film that just rambles around throwing out limp, strained references to classic films and Joe Dirt in-jokes that weren’t all that funny when they were used in the first film. The plot, of sorts, sends Joe back in time to 1965 for no other reason than to allow for a ton of pop culture/movie references that just hit the screen with endless, audible thuds. It’s generally a given that SNL-style farces are little more than goofy sketch-focused vehicles for one or two central comedians, so Joe Dirt 2 can be forgiven for blowing it in the “narrative cohesion” department, but that doesn’t explain all the tedious references to films like Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Wizard of Oz, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Joe Dirt 2 feels more like a failed sitcom from 1988 than an actual movie. There’s even a gag about the opening credits of The Sopranos. Sharp wit there, fellas.
Fans of the first Dirt may be be pleased to note that Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken, and Adam Beach have returned to reprise their roles, but (as was the case in the first film) very little of their material is worthy of the energy they’re required to expend. They even got Dennis Miller back for a few outrageously bad framing sequences that add nothing to the movie besides extra running time. To be completely fair, there are one or two moments that earned a few chuckles (Dirt doling out nicknames to a gang of bikers works pretty well; and a bizarre sequence in which Dirt coaches the pre-fame members of Lynyrd Skynyrd got me pretty good) but they’re minor oases of mirth in a bone-dry comedic wasteland.
And what’s with the 107-minute running time? Are these guys actively trying to piss viewers off? It’s not only that Joe Dirt 2 is egregiously overlong; it’s also that a blind monkey could have found 25 minutes of material worthy of deletion. Gross-out gags work better when they’re quick, and unfortunately Joe Dirt 2 lingers forever on its stupidest material. Even the “clever” stuff (most of Joe’s confrontations devolve into arguments about the very nature of insults) runs way too long for its own good, and the result is a late-arriving, overlong sequel that somehow buries its rare moments of wit beneath ego, laziness, and grating redundancy. Frankly speaking, nobody involved with the movie seems to be trying very hard.
See you in another 14 years, Joe.
1.5 14-year-old frozen burritos out of 5
Crackle is offering Joe Dirt 2 for free. This way you can’t ask for your money back.