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When the office bully Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton) humiliates Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen) in front of his 12 year old daughter Natalie (Hayden Panettiere) in an incident in the office car park, Joe is keen to redeem himself. Still hung up on his ex-wife Callie (Kelly Lynch), he enrols in martial arts classes with Chuck Scarett (Jim Belushi), a washed up action star, and gets the attention of the office ‘wellness co-ordinator’ Meg Harper (Julie Bowen). 

Review by Louise Keller:
An appealing escapist comedy that doesn’t require quantum leaps of faith to believe in its hero, Joe Somebody endears us to a very ordinary kind of middle-aged guy whose life is as wrinkled as his crumpled appearance. He is Mr Everybody caught on the treadmill of survival in the corporate jungle and being bombarded by every passing coconut. It’s funny, witty and the humour is never forced; we can just sit back, grin and gather the accumulative effect. Clearly exemplifying how shallow the popularity stakes really are, Joe’s unlikely hero status comes as a big surprise, especially to Joe himself. We smile knowingly as he is invited to the 13th floor executive club to play squash – chances are, there will be more that is squashed than the ball! We smile even more knowingly when we watch him peer into a shonky window advertising kung fu tuition. Then we meet his instructor, former B movie-star (James Belushi is divine), and we know this is going to be milked for all its worth. And it is - it’s a hoot.

There’s a whole section dedicated to the Fight choreography, in which fight co-ordinator Damon Caro explains the objectives and how everything is carefully choreographed. Producer Brian Reilly talks about Belushi’s prior experience in action films, which makes him credible in the role of Scarett. As we see Belushi and Allen in rehearsal, ducking lunges and moves, we get a very clear understanding of how these scenes are executed.

The commentary by Pasquin and Reily is easy listening banter for anyone interested in how the locations were chosen and the actual shoot, including casting choices, and there’s a handful of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Pasquin. Perhaps the most interesting is the scene between Belushi and Allen as they rehearse their moves, but the scene was eventually deleted in its entirety because a non-fictional character (Demi Moore) was mentioned, taking us out of the fictional reality.

This is more than a comedic role for Tim Allen: he is also the romantic lead and a single father who is still pining over his ex-wife. And he is very likeable throughout. Julie Bowen is appealing in what could traditionally have been a Meg Ryan role, although there is not much opportunity beyond the predictable. Hayden Panettiere is sweet as Joe’s daughter, but our main focus is on Joe himself. He might be straight and square, but he is sincere and we are rooting for him all the way. Frivolous fun for Everybody, Joe Somebody is a delight.

Published April 10, 2003

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CAST: Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Hayden Panettiere, James Belushi, Greg Germann

DIRECTOR: John Pasquin

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Director John Pasquin and Producer Brian Reilly, Scarett’s Method (Fight Chorography), Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2003

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