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Joe Somebody

What a pleasant surprise this is. The commercials make Joe Somebody look like another awful romantic comedy, with little romance and even less comedy, but instead it's an enjoyable romp that avoids the ridiculous for the surprisingly understated.

Tim Allen (Galaxy Quest) is Joe Scheffer, a normal guy who's been passed over for promotion more times than he can count and whose wife left him last year for a young actor. At least, he has an adorable  twelve-year-old daughter (played by the adorable Hayden Panettiere, Remember the Titans) who loves him despite her impending adolescence. When he takes her to work one day, he gets upset when a cocky co-worker named Mark (Patrick Warburton) steals his parking space. Not wanting to admit he's a milquetoast, Joe gets out of his car and confronts Mark, who swiftly socks him in the jaw, not once but twice. Joe slinks away but soon resolves to assert his manhood and challenge Mark to another fight.

Now, I'll acknowledge that the premise doesn't exactly scream potential.But the script by John Scott Shepherd is nicely low-key and full of appealing characters. Jim Belushi (Return to Me) is a washed-up film star who runs a small-time martial-arts studio. Julie Bowen is a human resources person who tries to convince Joe not to fight and ends up falling in love with him. Even Joe's ex-wife is presented in a positive light. The romance has integrity to it, and the comic scenes worked for this reviewer. Joe Somebody isn't Oscar-winning fare by any means, but it is solid family entertainment that will leave you with a smile on your face.   

J. Robert Parks 12/18/2001



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