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20th Century Fox
Official Site
Director: John Pasquin
Producers: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson, Matthew Gross, Brian Reilly, Kenneth Atchity
Written by: John Scott Shepherd
Cast: Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Greg Germann, Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, James Belushi

Rating: out of 5

I admit it: I didn’t give JOE SOMEBODY much of a chance. I entered the theater with about as much enthusiasm as I have for dentist appointments, got as comfortable as possible in my seat, and waited for it to be over. Thankfully, it was not a long movie. At one point I wanted to leave, but I remembered I was there for a reason: to pass on the message that no one should pay to see this movie.

With that said, I will now try to be a bit more objective. JOE SOMEBODY has some good points—I’ll get to those eventually. The movie starts off okay, with the humble Joe Scheffer (Allen) helping his co-workers and being an all-around Nice Guy, even though he is obviously unappreciated at work. Joe’s dorky glasses and shy demeanor do not help his loser image, which is quickly made public when co-worker Mark McKinney (Warburton) beats him up (actually, just slaps him around) in front of his 12-year-old daughter Natalie (Panettiere) on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Joe is completely mortified by the incident and holes up at home, refusing to go back to work or see his daughter. The first 15 minutes is the best part of the movie. Now, for the rest of it.

Co-worker Meg (Bowen) tries to talk Joe into going back to work. She wants to help him because she likes him, but Joe does not like himself and vows to change. He also decides to fight Mark and employs former actor-turned-martial arts trainer, Chuck (Belushi), to help him realize his full fighting potential. The changes in Joe’s appearance and demeanor cause everyone at work to suddenly like him—except for Meg. And all this because he wants to fight some lunatic co-worker who has anger management problems. The ending comes down to this—will Joe impress his co-workers by fighting Mark, or win Meg by taking the higher road? If you’re having trouble guessing, here’s a hint: There’s a happily-ever-after ending.

What I don’t like about this movie is the overarching theme that being yourself will get you nowhere, and that you have to act like or at least aspire to be like everyone else in order to be accepted. It’s high school all over again. I realize this is a Tim Allen movie—which are not exactly known for being very deep—but I’m convinced it could have been better with a different story line. Basically, JOE SOMEBODY would be good if not for its plot.

But I promised to say something nice about this movie, so here it is. The acting is pretty good. Allen successfully portrays Joe as both reserved and outgoing, and Belushi, in his role as a former actor, proves that art really does mirror life. Panettiere’s role, however, is the most endearing of them all, with her off-color humor (for a 12-year-old) that randomly made me laugh. JOE SOMEBODY is not horrible for what it is—a movie about a guy who realizes (though slowly and through no ability of his own) that there are more important things than being part of the crowd. Just don’t try to analyze it. It’s not worth the energy, and the results are disappointing.

—Sarah Andrews

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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