WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a white-bread middle-class schlub is bitchslapped by a bully in front of his 12-year-old daughter, he (after wallowing in shame) decides to challenge the clueless grunt to a rematch. Lots of allegedly comical martial arts training ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Much like any flaccid “family comedy” with no spark and no energy, JOE SOMEBODY manages to showcase a few great character actors…trapped in a turgid and lifeless screenplay. I mention this first because the performances of Greg Germann, Julie Bowen, and James Belushi are the only things worth focusing on should you ever find yourself near a TV when this movie is playing. Obviously it’s simply a moronic move to cast Tim Allen in the leading man role of ANY production that’s not a 45-second TV commercial or a Pixar film that doesn’t require us to watch his pathetic mugging, but asking this guy to actually ACT is a recipe for disaster (This just in: I’m not a big fan of Tim Allen.) It would have been a lot easier to dismiss this film as a mildly diverting fluff piece…were it not for the grating presence of the ever-mugging and talent-free leading man. And if you’re sitting through this flick searching for the two or three mild chuckles, you’re in for an experience akin to that old “needle in a haystack” scenario.
This movie limps along aimlessly, desperately clinging to its threadbare plot synopsis, offering very little “kid-pleasing” entertainment for what’s clearly labeled as a ‘family flick’. I don’t know of ANY kids who’d happily sit through the seemingly endless collection of ‘romantic subplot’ shenanigans offered here, and the movie’s only real satisfying gags are the sort that will fly right over the heads of any kids in the room. Plus, the movie also has one stunningly flimsy throwaway ending that will have you going “Huh?” all through the ‘rewind’ cycle. The message of the film seems to be: threatening violence on someone is O.K. if it makes you popular with other people, but make sure they’re only EMPTY threats! JOE SOMEBODY may not be the worst sort of family flick out there, but it offers literally nothing you haven’t seen before. The humor level tops off around ‘familiar and mediocre at best’ and the one-trick plot plods along until its inevitably safe finale. Fans of Tim Allen (you know who you are) will probably enjoy it; others need not (ever) apply.
A surprising amount of goodies on what’s essentially a limp little box-office dud. First up is a full-length audio commentary with director John Pasquin and producer Brian Reilly. Probably more entertaining than the actual feature (though only barely), this commentary is full of somewhat interesting info on what goes into a family movie like this one. Those curious to see how a few snips here and there can be the difference between a ‘comedy’ and a ‘kids flick’ will find some of the filmmaker’s discussions interesting, though to be completely honest – I kept nodding off during this track, so take that as poor reviewing skills on my part – or – an indictment of the commentary’s content. I’ll just trot out that reliable old DVD reviewer’s mantra: “If you liked the movie, you’ll probably enjoy the commentary track”. ‘Nuff said.
We’re also offered four deleted scenes, which can be played with or without director’s commentary. I’m guessing this movie had a LOT more than four deleted scenes, but the ones we’re offered here were clearly cut for good reason. Probably the most interesting feature is the Fight Choreography featurette, which offers Allen, Belushi, Reilly, and Fight Coordinator Damon Caro discussing the martial-arts training scenes in the film. Also included is the theatrical trailer.
I’d recommend this one only to Tim Allen freaks, but even then I’d do it with extreme reservations since I honestly can’t see what’s funny about him…except for the fact that he’s famous. And that’s hilarious.