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Joe Somebody

Starring: Tim Allen
Director: John Pasquin
Genre: Comedy
Year: 2001
Rating: 2 / 5

Is there something to be said for comedies that are charming and enjoyable but just not very funny? If so, please let me know, because that seems to be an accurate way to describe Joe Somebody. This Tim Allen vehicle is loaded with not-so-subtle messages about “doing the right thing,” yet the laughs are hard to come by. The characters are nice, the plot is serviceable, and the pace is smooth if not slick. Tim Allen is his jolly, old self as a likeable everyman, with Julie Bowen as his all-too-cute love interest. We pass the time with these two, laughing at the occasional joke and at Jim Belushi’s martial arts instructor, but, ultimately, the laughs are few and far between.

Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen) is a regular guy wallowing in middle management when he decides to bring his daughter to work as part of an annual office tradition. At the company parking lot, Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton), an uptight jerk, swipes Joe’s parking spot. When Joe asks him to move, McKinney slaps him and eventually knocks him over. Humiliated, Joe whisks his young daughter back to school and begins hiding out at his house. He is too ashamed to be seen at work or even to speak with his family. Only after a visit from Meg Harper (Julie Bowen), one of the company’s human resources representatives, does Joe begin to realize what he wants – revenge.

Joe convinces himself that the only way to go from a nobody to a somebody is to fight the bully again – and win! He challenges McKinney to another duel, then enlists the help of movie star-turned-martial arts guru Chcuk Scarett (Jim Belushi) to toughen himself up. As soon as he takes this step, though, other things in his life start changing – for the better. Joe is soon accepted by the “in” crowd at the office, becoming a regular at after-work functions and squash matches. With Meg’s help, however, he begins to realize that all of it is predicated upon the forthcoming rematch. Joe has forgotten who he is, and although popularity may have resulted, he is not nearly as happy with himself.

Tim Allen’s Joe Scheffer is an easy fellow to root for, even if a typical episode of Home Improvement packed more laughs than this entire film. As his wise daughter Natalie, Hayden Panettiere (Remember the Titans) once again gets a chance to portray a child who’s a little too smart for her own good. Jim Belushi pokes a little fun at himself, slumming it as a washed up film star helping wimps uncover their inner tough guy. Again, the film is definitely entertaining, and it ends by leaving a smile on most viewers’ faces. As Yoda might say, a comedy Joe Somebody is not, but an entertaining family film it just might be.

Cast:

Tim Allen..........Joe Scheffer
Julie Bowen..........Meg Harper
Jim Belushi..........Chuck Scarett

Certification: Rated PG.
Running Time: 98 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[critics]