Morality Trumps Adolescent Fantasy
Release Date: December 21, 2001
Starring: Tim Allen, Jim Belushi, Julie
Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Hayden
Panettiere, Patrick Warburton,
& Greg Germann
Audience: Older children, teenagers &
Runtime: 97 minutes
Distributor: 20th Cent. Fox
Director: John Pasquin
Executive Producer: Arnon Milchan, Chi-Li Wong &
William Wilson, III
Producer: Arnold Kopelson, Anne
Kopelson, Matthew Gross, Ken
Atchity, & Brian Reilly
Writer: John Scott Shepherd
Address Comments To:Peter Chernin, Chairman & CEO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman & Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. & News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
One day while taking his daughter Natalie to “bring your daughter to work day,” Mark, the office bully, humiliates Joe in front of his daughter. Mark breaks the rules and takes Joe’s cherished parking space. When Joe tries to stand up to Mark, Mark slaps him very hard twice on the face. Joe slinks away, takes his daughter back to school and calls in sick.
The company suspends Mark and sends Meg to help Joe, who refuses to go back to work. Meg’s slimy boss, Jeremy, is afraid Joe might sue the company, but Joe is just despondent over his inability to stand up to Mark. Meg encourages Joe to stop feeling sorry for himself and start taking charge of his life by doing what he wants to do. Joe, however, decides that what he wants to do most of all is to beat up Mark. He promptly challenges Mark to a fight and starts taking martial arts training with a has been action movie star, played by Jim Belushi.
Meg and Jeremy don’t like this situation, but the popular crowd at the office suddenly takes an interest in Joe. They have been waiting for someone to put the bully Mark back in his place. Joe really enjoys all of the attention, but it begins to turn him into the egotistical Big Man on Campus. Only Meg and his daughter Natalie can help him keep his feet on the ground now.
JOE SOMEBODY is an often funny comedy that shows off Tim Allen’s ability to play physical comedy. The scenes between Joe and Chuck, the martial arts instructor played by Jim Belushi, are among the best scenes in the movie. The story sometimes plays, however, like a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive plotline. The rest of the cast also does fine, although many viewers might like to have seen more verbal sparring between Joe and Mark, the office bully played by Patrick Warburton. The story hasn’t really built a proper role for Mark or the other villain in the movie, Jeremy. Hayden Panettiere is cute as Joe’s sensitive daughter, and Julie Bowen and Kelly Lynch as Meg and Joe’s ex-wife Callie offer good romantic support.
The morality in JOE SOMEBODY may be somewhat problematic. Although the movie recognizes that Joe is going about things in a bad way, the intent of the story also seems to be to awaken feelings of revenge in viewers. Furthermore, the violence in the story is used for comical effect, to elicit laughter from other people’s pain. In the end, however, viewers just want to see the bad guys get their comeuppance. There is also a significant amount of foul language in JOE SOMEBODY, which rates a caution for older children and young teens.
All’s well that ends well, however. Joe eventually learns the value of turning away from physical violence, which ultimately regains the respect from his daughter that Joe really wants and that he thought he had lost. In effect, Joe realizes that it’s better to be the Mature Man on Campus in your child’s eyes, rather than the head honcho at work. Of course, if Joe didn’t care what his daughter thinks about him in the first place, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie.
JOE SOMEBODY is an often funny comedy that shows off Tim Allen’s ability to play physical comedy. The scenes between him and Belushi are particularly humorous. The story sometimes plays, however, like a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive plot. There’s also some significant foul language in JOE SOMEBODY, which requires a caution for older children. All’s well that ends well, however. Joe eventually learns the value of turning away from physical violence, which regains the respect from his daughter that Joe really wants.