Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Fred Wolf
Written by: David Spade & Fred Wolf
Starring: David Spade, Brittany Daniel, Dennis Miller, Adam Beach, Christopher Walken, Mark McGrath, Patrick Warburton & Charlotte McKinney
2001’s JOE DIRT wasn’t a massive hit during its theatrical run, but gained a sizable cult following after its home video release. That film is stupid and focuses more on crude laughs instead of an actual plot, but I consider JOE DIRT to be a big “guilty pleasure” of mine. It seems like the last thing you’d expect would be that Crackle (a free video streaming service) would produce a sequel to JOE DIRT over a decade later, but that’s exactly what has happened. I was hesitantly looking forward to seeing more adventures of the mullet-headed redneck. Unfortunately, JOE DIRT 2: BEAUTIFUL LOSER manages to be one of the worst comedy sequels that I’ve seen in a long, long time (far worse than DUMB AND DUMBER TO or HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2) due to piss-poor production values and a reeking sense of desperation.
Much like the first film, JOE DIRT 2 is comprised of our titular redneck relating a tale of random life events and ridiculousness to a random listener. Unlike the first film, JOE DIRT 2 feels the need to keep certain jokes running far too long, throwing in unnecessary references to that first film, and failing to capture the sense of stupid fun that the original had for so many people. The main story focuses on Joe marrying Brandi and then accidentally going back in time after a freak tornado hits his trailer. Assisted by familiar faces from the past (or in this case, the future), Joe does everything he can to get back to the present and keep his destiny intact. This journey won’t be easy as he’s being pursued by an angry biker gang, runs into mob boss Clem, and also makes history in (as one character states) a white-trash Johnny Appleseed sort of way. Trust me, I just made this movie sound far more entertaining than it actually is.
The first things to stick out in this direct-to-Crackle sequel are the crappy-looking production values. It makes sense that this sequel would have a significantly lower budget (seeing that the original wasn’t a big hit), but the visuals are distractingly ugly. This looks much more like an episode of a TV show as opposed to an actual movie. Though the visuals are really the least of this movie’s problems. The unfocused script of the first movie maintained a charming sense of entertaining stupidity. JOE DIRT 2 feels like it’s lazy and phoning it in during almost every scene. It doesn’t help that this sequel somehow runs at 16 minutes longer than the first movie when there’s only about a third of a story here. I’m not going to say that the movie is a laugh-barren comedic wasteland, because it has exactly three funny scenes in it. The best of these involves Joe encountering an urban legend that turns out to be true. With a shorter running time, it’s possible that JOE DIRT 2 could have been better. Instead, scenes drag on for no apparent reason other than the director thought someone farting in Joe Dirt’s face was hilarious the first time and felt the need to show it six more times.
JOE DIRT 2 is a cheap excuse of a comedy that might have been enjoyable in different hands and with a few rewrites on the screenplay, but instead, desperately clings to referencing the first film (with cameos by Buffalo Bob, Kickin Wing, that one nameless radio host, and (the only decent returning character) gangster Clem) as an attempt to keep the original’s laughs. This sequel never captures the sense of stupid fun that made the original movie into a “guilty pleasure,” but it doesn’t hold as its own creation either (seeing as it’s so intent on tying this into the JOE DIRT universe). From the horrible looking camera work (the visual quality really does look like a TV sitcom episode from the 90’s) to only having three decent chuckles in a running time of nearly two hours (complete with a predictable cop-out ending), JOE DIRT 2: BEAUTIFUL LOSER certainly lives up to the last word in its title.