John Pasquin's would-be comedy, JOE SOMEBODY, stars a badly miscast Tim
Allen as Joe Scheffer, a Rocky Balboa of the cubical dwellers. Allen
manages to be even worse here than he is in BIG TROUBLE, a very bad Disney
comedy about terrorists who take a nuclear weapon on an airplane -- a movie
that may never get its planned theatrical release given its subject matter.
An unbelievable story, JOE SOMEBODY concerns a man (Joe) who is slapped
twice in his company's parking lot by another employee on "Take your
daughter to work" day. When Joe, a video communications specialist, decides
to challenge the other employee to a fighting rematch in the parking lot,
Joe becomes an instant hero to everyone in the office. What company would
be permitted to treat office violence thus?
Joe enlists the help of Chuck Scarett (James Belushi), a failed B-movie
actor who now teaches martial arts between beer swigs. Joe's transformation
under Chuck's tutelage is barely discernable. The biggest change occurs
when Joe starts moussing his hair and stops wearing glasses. He's still a
wimp, but, with his new look, he becomes a self-assured wimp.
Hayden Panettiere, Coach Yoast's daughter in REMEMBER THE TITANS, plays
Joe's daughter Natalie, a gifted student, a budding playwright and a
slightly rebellious 12-year-old. The recently divorced Joe has to endure
his ex-wife's canonically obnoxious boyfriend.
The only part of the plot that works is a low grade romance between Joe and
the corporate wellness leader, Meg Harper (Julie Bowen), who would really
rather be a high school guidance counselor.
Although it isn't part of the main storyline, the movie does have one funny
bit. There is a television commercial shown that advertises one of the
drugs made by Joe's company. "Making you better than you really are" is the
commercial's tag line. The long list of the drug's possible side-effects
includes death. The movie itself is pretty deadly so maybe the television
commercials for it should come with similar warnings.
JOE SOMEBODY runs 1:38. It is rated PG for "language, thematic elements and
some mild violence" and would be acceptable for most kids.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, said that the unfunny movie was like a wet match
that won't light. Giving it just one star, he said that he thought Allen
was dull but Hayden Panettiere and Belushi were both good. He challenged
his mother, who liked the movie, to name one good scene. He rejected all of
her candidates as awful.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes