Joe Somebody Movie Review

The premise for Joe Somebody could fit on the back of a Cuban postcard. But here's the long version: Allen plays Joe Scheffer -- a poster boy for cubical bleakness -- who works as a video editor at a generic pharmaceutical company in Minnesota, who spends his days cutting together ridiculous ads for nameless health products. Joe's divorced, has an annoyingly clever pre-teen daughter, and dresses like a substitute teacher. One day, while parking his tan sedan in the "10-year associates" parking lot during family day at the office -- don't ask -- a confrontation occurs between Joe and salesman named Mark McKinney. No kids, not the guy from Kids in the Hall who crushes heads with his thumb and index finger, McKinney is played by Patrick Warburton, who stars in yet another bad movie role. After getting bitch-slapped in the most unbelievable scene in recent cinema memory, Joe retreats into a state of drunkenness, ashamed of failing in the eyes of his daughter and getting further pummeled by McKinney.

After emotional prodding by the company's "wellness director" Meg Harper (hotcake Julie Bowen), Joe is awakened from his corporate stupor and challenges McKinney to a rematch to regain his honor. In the process, Joe gains the admiration of the entire company, as everyone in the place appears somehow pissed off at him. On the road to recovery, Joe lands the promotion he always wanted, kicks ass at squash, leads fellow co-workers in karaoke, and eventually evolves into the kind of generic corporate schmuck that we all hate far worse than any big league bully.

Toss in the antics of James Belushi teaching Joe the Zen method of ass-whupping, Kelly Lynch pining over her reinvented former husband, and the conventional daughter providing garden-variety emotional support to our hero. And guess how the Battle of the Century turns out?

Knocking Joe Somebody is difficult because nothing is remotely offensive about the film -- nothing at all, except that the film is rarely humorous and is filled with an exorbitant amount of movie clichés, like the token black executive who welcomes Joe into his exclusive health club. There's the big bully character suddenly afraid of his own shadow, the ex-wife character that wants Her Man back in her life after it falls apart, and the chauvinistic boss with dialog that would ring up a dozen sexual harassment complaints. I could go on, but that would be too clichéd.

Tim Allen pulls out a semi-decent acting job here, but it is too apparent that Allen's real talent lies in voice-overs or in ensemble gigs like the underrated Galaxy Quest. His portray of Joe is blank and uninteresting -- a nobody, really.

The Joe Somebody DVD may be the first and only time you'll find the phrases "choreography" and "Jim Belushi" on the same page. In addition to that "fight featurette" you get deleted scenes and a director and producer commentary which you'll never listen to. Promise.

Anything for an upskirt.


Joe Somebody Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG, 2001


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