Stars: David Spade, Brittany Daniel, Christopher Walken, Patrick Warburton, Mark McGrath, Dennis Miller, Toby Bronson, Ron Flagge, Rhonda Dents, Tracy Weisert, Natalia Cigliuti, Erica Ibsen | Written by Fred Wolf, David Spade | Directed by Fred Wolf
The original Joe Dirt became something of a cult classic on DVD, even moreso in our household where it gets watched at least every other month… For some reason that underdog tale of a man beaten down by life but refusing to take it, living everday to its potential really struck a chord. But the same can’t be said for the sequel, which is essentially a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, making a mockery of the first film and the character, in a movie that feels like it was made more for the cast to have fun and work than for the audience to enjoy.
Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser picks up the story some months after the heartwarming ending of the first… Brandi and Joe are now parents to triplets and Joe is trying to make ends meet at a logging company. After being made fun of – well, by “made fun of” I mean people literally fart in Joe’s face (yes, the level of humour hasn’t changed) Joe is caught up in a tornado and thrust into the past. 1965 to be precise. Believing all his worries will be solved by becoming rich, Joe does everything in his [limited] power to rewrite history, making a better future for Brandi and himself. Only it doesn’t go according to plan. But hey this is Joe Dirt, nothing ever goes according to plan for him does it?
World’s apart from the first film, Joe Dirt 2 doesn’t so much as make us laugh WITH Joe as at Joe, this film task the audience with being as mean-spirited and ignorant and the cast of characters who put Joe down. There’s no real support for Joe this time round either – yes, we do meet Clem, Kicking Wing (albeit in a cameo) and even Dennis Miller’s DJ Zander Kelly again; but given that this is, at heart, an “alternate reality” tale, the support network Joe had has gone. Instead we get the ridiculous notion that Joe is presided over by a guardian angel, played by the ever-sarcastic Patrick Warburton - a guardian angel who spends most of the time tormenting Joe rather than helping him.
It’s easy to see why it took 14 years for anyone to make a sequel to Joe Dirt. There is no new story to tell, nowhere else for the character to go. The first film is a slice of redneck comedy perfection that will remain a staple in my comedy-watching cinema (to be fair David Spade has two films in that category – check out Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star for another example), however Joe Dirt 2 is merely another throwaway comedy from the Happy Madison production line. I can’t see myself revisiting this one any time soon.
Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser is released on iTunes (in the US) on January 5th. The film hits VOD in the UK a week later on 11th January.