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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Joe Dirt (Blu-ray)
Joe Dirt (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // PG-13 // July 7, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted July 15, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

No, Joe Dirt is not good, per se, but it endears thanks to David Spade's good-natured redneck. Joe Dirt is a likeable guy, mullet and acid-wash jeans included, abandoned by his family in youth on a trip to the Grand Canyon. He winds up in a series of foster homes and is bullied continually for his appearance. The world continues to dump on poor Joe until he makes it on a radio show and begins to tell his life story. Joe becomes an underdog hero with an outlook on life so optimistic that even cynics change their tunes. Joe Dirt is pretty stupid, but its themes of acceptance and positivity are surprisingly sunny. And hey, I laughed.

Joe is perpetually stuck in some alternate late '70s dimension where driving a 1969 Dodge Daytona and dressing like the king of a trailer park is appropriate. The guy just lives, unconcerned about the opinions of others. This lifestyle opens Joe up to criticism, and he is three decades into a life of bullies and jerks. Joe is initially pulled into the hot seat by DJ Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller) as a cruel joke, but ends up winning over both the radio personality and his audience. He recounts his adventures courting beautiful Brandy (Brittany Daniel) and working alongside a retired mobster in witness protection (Christopher Walken). As his audience grows, old acquaintances pop up to take advantage of Joe's newfound fame.

I do not consider myself a David Spade fan. I find his usual brand of comedy grating and repetitive, but his performance here is good-natured and casually funny. Spade never tries too hard to make Joe a redneck caricature, and lets the comedy happen naturally. There are slapstick pratfalls and scatological humor that fall flat, but sharper jokes from the script, co-written by Spade, emerge, like the climax to a story Joe tells about hooking up with a woman he thinks might be his sister (Jaime Pressly). Joe's easy, self-depreciating humor works well, as do the back-and-forths between Joe and Kid Rock's backwoods bully, Robby. "I'm cool," Joe says after Robby peels away, spraying him with rocks. "No, you're not," Robby deadpans.

Dennie Gordon directs her first feature film here, and makes the transition from television. This is a decently shot, sub $20-million film, and you'd never know it was Gordon's first time in the big leagues. Joe Dirt's Blu-ray debut is timed with the release of its sequel, Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, which is available to purchase online. I did a very unscientific poll with some friends, and each seemed to have fond memories of Joe Dirt, whether from a theatrical viewing or catching bits and pieces on cable. It is hard to discount Spade's likeable protagonist, and there are enough laughs to recommend the film despite its flaws.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Sony releases Joe Dirt with a decent 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. This is not the flashiest film ever shot, but the Blu-ray offers what I suspect is a reasonable approximation of the theatrical presentation. The image is clear of distracting noise reduction or edge enhancement, and I did not spot any aliasing or jagged edges. Some shots are a bit soft, but there is good fine-object detail throughout. Colors are nicely saturated, skin tones are accurate and black levels steady.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix works well for this comedy. Dialogue is clear and without distortion, and the music benefits from appropriate stereo effects. Some light ambient and action effects make use of the rear surrounds, and the subwoofer is called to work on occasion. A French 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is also included, as are English SDH, English, French and Spanish subs.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in a standard case, and includes a code to redeem an UltraViolet HD digital copy. Extras include Two Audio Commentaries: One from Director Dennie Gordon, the other from David Spade. The Making of Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (4:29/HD) is just an extended promo for the sequel. You also get Joe Dirt: The Return (3:40/HD), a quick retrospective piece. Things wrap up with some Outtakes and Bloopers (3:06/SD); Deleted Scenes (5:49 total/SD), with optional commentary by Gordon; and a Theatrical Trailer (2:27/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

It may be dumb as Dirt, but, in this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing. David Spade is likeable redneck loser Joe Dirt, who overcomes tremendous odds on a journey of self-discovery. This is a funny, endearing, stupid movie. Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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