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Joe Somebody

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Joe Somebody

Starring: Tim Allen, Kelly Lynch
Director: John Pasquin
Rated: PG
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows ---
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewvideo review
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewvideo review

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

What gives this otherwise featherweight picture some heft is its theme, one with which most people in the audience are likely to identify. We all want to be noticed, to be somebody, to fit in with the crowd and yet to stand out in some way. We conform to a great extent to our peer culture: pierce our tongues if that's what the gang's doing, wear jeans with cut-outs in the knees. But what to do to be the center of attention? We can be the class clown, the chess maven, the captain of the basketball team rather than just a player. Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen), for example, fits in just fine in his office as a video specialist in a Twin Cities pharmaceutical company but after ten years he has not received the promotion he deserves based not only on seniority but on his particular talent for making marketing videos for the drugs his company is pushing.

"Joe Somebody" has all the markings of sitcom, in fact many of the performers made their names from TV aside from Tim Allen ("Home Improvement"). The woman of his dreams, Meg (Julie Bowen) comes from the TV comedy series "Ed," his nemesis, Jeremy (Greg Germann) from "Ally McBeal," screenwriter John Scott Shepherd's 12-year-old daughter Hayden Panettiere, in the role of Joe's daughter Natalie, has appeared on soaps and Jim Belushi in the role of martial arts expert Chuck is from "According to Jim."

The movie would probably tank if it were not for Tim Allen, a 48-year-old actor whose romance with a woman who looks about 28 is unlikely in the real world but de rigueur in the movies. The story, which has some resonance from those Charles Atlas ads in the old comic books (remember the 98-pound weakling who did nothing when sand was kicked in his face at the beach?) since Joe is punched out in the company parking lot in front of his daughter by the company bully, Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton). Because his daughter and several co- workers witness the attack, Joe is particularly humiliated and determined to have a rematch in three weeks--when the suspended McKinney returns to work. He works out in the gym, plays squash with his buddy, and in the movie's best comic scenes trains with martial artist Chuck Scarett (Jim Belushi), expecting to be in shape in just three weeks. As the people around him see a man with new vigor and spark--not the least being his ex-wife Callie (Kelly Lynch) and the pixie-ish Meg Harper (Julie Bowen)--Joe becomes a somebody. Everyone looks forward to the big fight: everyone, that is, except the most important people in his life, namely his daughter and his office sweetie.

At times director John Pasquin pushes the humor as when he repeats a commercial for a prescription drug in which the announcer relates the side effects: headache, nausea, depression, stomach ailments, depression and in some cases death. At other times Pasquin relies on cutesy scenes between Joe and the daughter who seems to be taking over in her home as her confused and lonely mother begins to regret dumping Joe and uses the 12-year-old for support. But the scenes between Joe and Chuck are the showstoppers as two people from different walks of life learn to like each other while practicing in the ring (though what is called martial arts looks more like conventional boxing lessons). "Joe Somebody" has Holiday Movie written all over it--light fun, a pleasant-enough time-passer between last minute Christmas shopping trips.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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