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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (Blu-ray)
Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // Unrated // January 5, 2016 // Region Free
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jesse Skeen | posted December 28, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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There's a fine line between movies that are just plain stupid, where you have to wonder what the writers were thinking and who would actually find them funny, and ones that get the level of stupid just right enough for the intelligent people in the audience to laugh at it while going over the heads of the not-so-bright ones. 2001's Joe Dirt had "dumb" written all over it but got that dumbness mostly right, as you could tell that everyone involved was in on the joke and aware that David Spade's mullet-headed, Southern-rock-loving title character truly was an idiot. (While much of its advertising promoted him as a "hero", it was clearly being sarcastic.) The movie wasn't what I would call great but was certainly entertaining as long as you understood what exactly it was going for. While I doubt that many of the people who enjoyed it were begging for a sequel, it gets one here and like several other sequels of recent years it's forgone a theatrical release.

"Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser" was produced by "Happy Madison TV" and prior to this disc release was available exclusively on Crackle, Sony's ad-supported entertainment streaming platform which has mainly been a showcase for their older movie and TV content. While I could tolerate a few commercials in place of a subscription fee, I removed Crackle from my Roku box after seeing that they overlaid their logo on the picture, something which I have zero tolerance for. Having later added a Chromecast to my arsenal of equipment, that device allows viewing of Crackle's material without that annoyance but I still have not watched much as the picture quality is a bit sub-par and audio is only delivered in 2-channel. I had been meaning to check out "Joe Dirt 2" which they have billed as the first "made for digital" movie sequel, but with a backlog of higher-quality commercial-free fare available through the digital avenue it wasn't a high priority until this Blu-Ray disc arrived.

When we last left Joe in the first movie, things had started to look up for him as he had finally won the heart of Brandy (Brittany Daniel). This sequel picks up with them recently married and moved into their own trailer with a newborn set of triplets (with one looking a bit different from the other two.) So far so good, but once again the writers have made the narrative a bit awkward. The first movie had Joe working as a janitor at a radio station and show host Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller) finding him fascinating enough to be an on-air guest for a few days telling his story in flashbacks. (I don't usually care for movies having most of their story told as flashbacks as inevitably they include details that wouldn't be discussed or even known to the person doing the storytelling, nor would a verbal re-counting of the events likely hold anyone's interest in real life the way they often do. One of my few issues with the first movie was that the radio audience was just a bit too enthusiastic about Joe's stories, dropping whatever they were doing to listen intensely which rarely happens with radio anymore. Another example of this type of narrative is the widely-loved Titanic- did anyone really think the crew would have sat and listened to the elderly Rose talk for three hours without asking her to speed things up just a bit?) Here, Zander returns but is just hanging out with a few bums in front of an auto shop when Joe Dirt becomes the subject of conversation, and the movie then awkwardly segues to Joe himself sitting at a bus stop bench (similar to Forrest Gump, yet another movie which used this type of narrative structure and they're even smart enough to acknowledge that here) and telling a random stranger about what we then see unfold. While the first Joe Dirt and the other mentioned films are still enjoyable overlooking the flashbacks, here it becomes very messy as you aren't sure who's telling which story and the subsequent events throw that off even further.

Anyways, Joe's story starts getting messy when a tornado hits his new family's town- Brandy and the girls run for shelter but have forgotten something, so Joe returns the trailer to fetch it only to have the whole thing blow away once he's inside, and crash-lands going back in time to 1965. The production doesn't go out of its way to make everything look authentic to that time, and there doesn't even appear to be much point for this to happen in the story other than subtly rip off Back to the Future with a chance encounter with Brandy's mother and being rather pointlessly being hailed as a biker gang's new leader only to soon be ousted because they decide his proposed new mission of the gang to help people is "queer". There's also a chance encounter with a band called "The Wildcats" whose members Joe recognizes as the eventual founding members of his favorite band Lynyrd Skynyrd- but there are so many inaccuracies that make this bit fail with anyone having even a basic knowledge of music history (the band went by a number of different names before becoming Lynyrd Skynyrd, but "The Wildcats" was not one of them!) Soon after that he ends up stranded for twelve years(!) in a Cast Away-like situation (and they didn't forget to include a ball named Wilson) and then the story spends a bit of time in 1977, also without much attention to period details, where he runs into a few characters from the first movie including Christopher Walken's mob boss, done mainly just for the sake of having them appear. When all is said and done it isn't clear how things wind back up in present-day but with a total running time of one hour and 49 minutes, the real question is how many viewers will have bailed on the movie by the time it's finally over? This Blu-Ray disc is billed as an "Extended Edition" and the running time clocks in at about 2 and a half minutes more than the version streaming on Crackle. The original movie ran just under 90 minutes which is a perfect length for this type of movie. This sequel goes on far too long, one reason being that it beats many of its jokes to death (such as one gag where Joe gets stuck on an airplane toilet.) The first movie knew when enough was enough for these types of gags, which is a key difference from being amusingly funny rather than just plain annoying.

Picture:

On the positive side, the picture quality of this Blu-Ray is very good, which is great news for fans of this sequel (I know there must be some out there) who would be the ones to actually purchase this for their permanent libraries, unwilling to settle for Crackle's mediocre quality as its legacy. Shot with Panavision's digital replacement for film, the picture is nicely detailed with no obvious compression artifacts and only a slight hint of gradient banding in one scene. This is definitely one where you can say that it almost doesn't deserve to look as good as it does.

Sound:

While only delivered in 2-channel on Crackle, the Blu-Ray disc gets a 5.1 mix in DTS-HD Master Audio which more than properly serves the material. There isn't much surround activity apart from the tornado scene and there aren't even as many favorite rock songs as there were in the original, but nothing to complain about with most of the inane dialogue coming through loud and clear.

Dubbed tracks in "real" French (not the usual Canadian French found on most North American discs), Portuguese and Thai are included along with conventional and hearing-impaired English subtitles with subs also in Chinese, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

Extras:

No extras relating to "Joe Dirt 2" are included, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion of the movie, but you do get the first movie's trailer (with all "Coming Soon" references removed but retaining its pre-release The Adventures of Joe Dirt title) along with previews for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Ratter and Home Invasion as well as Sony's usual hidden section of test patterns found by hitting the numbers 7669 while on the disc's main menu.

Final Thoughts:

I'm sure that a sequel to Joe Dirt sounded good on paper to those who made it, but the result is truly a mess even when you don't hold it to the standards of a theatrical release. Even overlooking the narrative structure which I personally don't care for in many other films, the story is a mess, many jokes are either shamelessly recycled from the original, fall flat, go on far too long, or a combination of those three, and the running time really overstays its welcome. (As I've said before, I would welcome an epic-length comedy that was actually worthy of its running time, but this certainly isn't it.) While this is said to have gotten a good number of views through Crackle, I would like to know how many viewers actually stayed with it past the first half hour. While "Showgirls 2" still holds the top spot on my list of worst direct-to-video sequels (and if you haven't heard of that one, trust me you do not want to see it!), it's likely to be high on others' similar lists. I still have to acknowledge that there must be somebody out there who liked this, and if that's your case then you'll be more than happy with this disc's picture and sound quality.

Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.

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