Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Joe Somebody

Tim Allen conveys timidity about as easily as a crocodile. The definition of a one-note performer, he convinces only as a smug wiseacre, a sort of neutered suburban ironist. Not that this always works against him. He fit well into the role of the egomaniacal TV star of Galaxy Quest, but the same qualities that worked in that film make him ill-suited for Joe Somebody. Cast as a recently divorced, badly shaken office drone for a chemical company that manufactures antidepressants, Allen is forced to reassess the direction of his life after an office bully (Patrick Warburton) violently humiliates him in full view of daughter Hayden Panettiere. Deciding to challenge Warburton to a rematch, Allen begins training for another fight, and suddenly finds new popularity among the coworkers who had previously ignored him. Could violence solve all his problems? Joe Somebody eventually arrives at a predictable answer, but not before Allen engages in a perfunctory romance with a pretty colleague (Ed's Julie Bowen), several training-montage sequences with washed-up, beer-swilling martial-arts star James Belushi, many unfortunate exchanges with an attitude-copping Panettiere, and a cameo from Jesse Ventura. Veering wildly between broad comedy and dysfunctional family drama, director John Pasquin (Jungle 2 Jungle) tries to create sympathy for characters he can't convert from timeworn stereotypes. The prospect of an indirect, comedy remake of Falling Down sounds grim from the outset, and Joe Somebody does little to suggest otherwise.


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