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OnTV Today's Date:

Joe Somebody
Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 20, 2002
Running Time: approximately 108 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Tim Allen gets bitch-slapped in his company's parking lot, sparking a campaign to rebuild his self-esteem.

  • Commentary with Director John Pasquin and Producer Brian Reilly
  • Fight Choreography Featurette
  • 4 Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

    Tech Specs: Both Widescreen (1.85:1) and Full-screen versions, English 5.1 Dolby Surround, Spanish and French Dolby Surround, English and Spanish subtitles

    Choice Scene: Tim Allen's first squash game with the big boys.

    Though it's a Fox film, Joe Somebody has the feel of a '70's Disney movie, given a little tweak for the 21st century. Whether that's good or bad is up to your personal taste, but at worst it's harmless, and, as Sarah Stanek pointed out in her review of Blood Work, it's hard to find movies that you're comfortable watching with your parents. This tame Tim Allen vehicle qualifies, telling a pretty simple story that actually benefits from the presence of Jim Belushi. Let that judgment sit a moment.

    Allen plays Joe Sheffer, a guy going through a pretty low patch in his life. Emotionally dulled by his recent divorce, Joe toils as a media specialist at a large pharmaceutical company. Though his work is supposedly exemplary, he's been passed over for a promotion. All he has is his spot in the seven-year employee company parking lot and the utter adoration of his daughter (Hayden Panettiere).

    And then on "Take Your Daughter To Work" day, Joe loses one of those last shreds of dignity. Company a**hole Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton, criminally underused as usual) cuts Joe off for his parking space, even though McKinney doesn't belong in that lot. When Joe confronts him, McKinney slaps him down a few times, sending Joe on a downward spiral into drugs, guns, and explosives.

    Actually, no, it just sends the good-natured Joe into a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry's, until a company counselor (Julie Bowen) encourages him to really figure out what he wants - a re-match. Word spreads through the company that the suspended McKinney is going to get his comeuppance, and suddenly Joe Shlepper becomes (drum roll, please) Joe Somebody.

    Along the way there's conflict with his theatrical ex-wife (Kelly Lynch) and her dim bulb new boyfriend (The State's Ken Marino), with an unsurprising romance between Allen and Bowen. While still done gamely, it's Formula 101.

    What keeps the movie from sinking into utter predictability is Belushi as Chuck Scarett, a retired action film star now making ends meet as a karate instructor. As Producer Brian Reilly points out, Belushi sort of is that guy, ABC sitcom notwithstanding. Long underrated as an actor (but overrated as a comedian), Belushi has a world-weariness that adds just the right note of cynicism. It's also clear that the screenwriter liked this character best, as he gets the best lines and seems the most like a real person.

    The disc has all the requisite extras, but really, this is not a movie that will make you stampede for the commentary. Surprisingly, a couple of the deleted scenes are as funny as what made it into the movie, though an attempt at a running gag with Marino fails, mainly because of flat acting on the sketch comedian's part.

    For a slightly unusual behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood, the fight choreography short reveals just how much thinking goes into the little things in production. And how much work these actors did for roles that still don't seem all that physical. As is often the case, the gravity with which the fight director treats himself is a little funny, considering the material.

    While you might not want this on your shelf, it's definitely one you can buy for your mom or dad and then borrow.

    Joe Somebody from Amazon.com

  • Derek McCaw


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