Total loser Gus (Rob Schneider) and his equally derelict friends Richie (David Spade) and Clark (Jon Heder) spent a lot of time in their school days sitting on the bench during baseball games. Now all grown up they decide to help a kid Nelson (Max Prado) from being bullied on the field. It turns out his father Mel (Jon Lovitz) is a billionaire who hires the guys to build confidence in his son. If they play in a tournament and help wage war against the bullies of the world Mel will promise the winning team the greatest stadium ever built. They call their team "Mel's Tournament of Little Baseballers and Three Older Guys" and hire Reggie Jackson to train them. But it turns out Gus was really a bully back in school and he now has to win the team's trust back. These guys make the Three Stooges look like Harvard grads the Dumb and Dumber dudes look like geniuses. If you thought Jon Heder was an amazing talent and Napoleon Dynamite was extraordinarily innovative then this performance may be a major disappointment wiping out any hope the actor can play more than one note. Sure he may have stretched a bit as the scene-stealing bookstore owner in Reese Witherspoon's Just Like Heaven but he's even more of a dazed dumb slacker in Benchwarmers. Schneider and Spade have already proven to be one-note talents--Spade's little bratty boy routine is running as thin as is Schneider's hairline. The only good acting comes from anyone under the age of 20 particularly Prado and the kid bullies. Even though Adam Sandler has personally moved on he still hires his old pals to do the silly movies he used to do through his production company. We have already be subjected to Grandma's Boy--and now Benchwarmers. This time around producer Sandler also drags director Dennis Dugan into the mix. He’s the guy who helped turn the comic actor into a superstar in films such as Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy. But by trying to create that old magic with the new hot-slacker-du-jour Heder and ripping off The Bad News Bears story Sandler fails. Benchwarmers is just a waste of time for anyone over 12. But hey if being humiliated smashing mailboxes and tossing hot potatoes makes you laugh then there's a seat for you on this bench.
One day Joe Dirt a radio station janitor gets dragged onto a popular radio show where the host (Dennis Miller) at first browbeats Joe but then becomes intrigued as Joe tells his life story on air--and so do the listeners. Apparently little eight-year-old Joe got separated from his parents in the Grand Canyon and the boy sets out to try and find them. Through his travels he is ridiculed to no end for his rocker hair (which is actually a wig fused to his head; it's too lame to explain--just go with it) and style of dress as well as his unique view of the world which is fairly optimistic considering how messed up his life has been thus far. He meets some friends along the way including an American Indian (Adam Beach) who sells weak fireworks by the side of the road; a mobster (Christopher Walken) who is under a federal witness protection plan; and his one true love Brandy (Brittany Daniel) a sweet down-home girl who lives in the perfect town Silvertown. But it's his quest to find his parents that drives him onward until he eventually discovers the truth.
David Spade…Dennis Miller…Christopher Walken? One would think that with this kind of talent attached to the film it would actually have a funny moment or two. But alas that is just not the case. Spade trying to play a white trash hick without any of his sardonic eyebrow raising simply misses the mark. He may be trying to break from his usual sarcastic shtick making the character Joe Dirt a sympathetic simpleton whose sheer kind-hearted spirit makes positive things happen to him a la Forrest Gump but it's not in any way believable. Sarcasm is Spade's trademark and he needs to stick with it. It seems all the sarcasm is poured into Dennis Miller's cocky radio show shockjock. But his usual witty repartee comes off as obnoxious and over the top. Walken is as quirky as ever which neither harms nor helps the film (although he gets to do some fancy dance moves at one point). And singer Kid Rock might be kicking himself for choosing Joe Dirt as his first feature film.
Only by the power of Adam Sandler who was the executive producer did this film get made one would guess. The script can't decide whether it should go for all out gross or romantic comedy. Spade who co-wrote the film can't be counted on to carry a film by himself since his last film Lost and Found (1999) was a complete disaster. Still at least that film had some redeeming qualities since Spade did what he does best-play the smart-ass little guy who gets the girl. In Joe Dirt the character comes off only as pathetic and the lessons he is supposedly teaching the rest of the country mean nothing.