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Joe Somebody

Original Name: Joe Somebody

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Release Date: 21 December 2001

Director:

Cast: , ,

Quality:

Boy, does Tim Allen take some beatings in Joe Somebody. First, he’s smacked by an office bully, then by a groin-seeking missile of a squash ball, and then, in scenes of agonizing repetition for both Allen’s character and the audience, by his beer self-defense instructor. These cheap shots account for a few cheap laughs in a movie that really has more serious concerns. “Joe Somebody” is an odd picture, a rumination on depression and self-discovery that’s couched as an office comedy. While never truly funny or insightful, the movie works intermittently by digging a little deeper than you might expect. Allen, who’s always had a bit of the sad clown about him, evokes sympathy as a middle-aged guy jolted into action after a life of quiet desperation. He plays Joe Scheffer, a recent divorce and devoted dad with little to show for his years of service to a pharmaceutical company besides a spot in the parking lot. When the office creep played by the wonderfully impassive Patrick Warburton from Seinfeld invades that space, Joe challenges him. The bully response by slapping Joe around in front of his daughter and co- workers. The humiliation sends Joe into a tailspin. Director John Pasquin uses a cinematic cheat sheet of stubble, beer cans, and pizza boxes to depict Joe’s breakdown, but Allen gives the scenes emotional weight. His slack face and downcast eyes show the guy’s slumped spirit. To get out of his funk, Joe sets up a rematch with the bully, a move that wins him new friends at work. He also starts dressing better and slicking back his hair. Though these improvements are obviously ephemeral, seeing Allen puff with newfound pride has an irresistible underdog tag.