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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Joe Somebody (2001)

"How about I throw in a free lesson for that. My way of saying: Don't press charges."
- Chuck Scarett (Jim Belushi)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: August 19, 2002

Stars: Tim Allen
Other Stars: Patrick Warburton, Kelly Lynch, Jim Belushi, Gren Germann, Julie Bowden, Hayden Panettiere
Director: John Pasquin

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: PG for language, thematic elements, mild violence
Run Time: 01h:38m:14s
Release Date: August 20, 2002
UPC: 024543042402
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+A-B+ C+

DVD Review

Joe Scheffer (Allen) is a mid-level audio/visual technician at a Minnesota pharmaceutical company and is going through a tough time in his life. He's recently divorced, and is struggling with problems at work, including promotions and special perks that keep evading his grasp. When "Take You Daughter To Work Day" comes along, Joe brings his daughter Natalie (Panettiere). However, Joe gets into an altercation with the office bully and winds up humilated, beaten up in front of Natalie as well as his coworkers. Frustrated and embarrassed, Joe goes into hiding, until the company "wellness expert," Meg Harper (Bowden), boosts his self-confidence, leading Joe to challenge McKinney (Panettiere) to a rematch. With dedication and some training, Joe begins to gain confidence and enjoy a newfound respect, but not necessarily from the people he cares about most.

John Pasquin's Joe Somebody seems to be lost in a battle of just what message it wants to promote. On the surface the film deals with gaining the confidence to stand up for yourself. Then, as if the film's PG rating takes hold late in the script, it strays so far as to go against the message it has spent the previous hour and a half promoting. Also, Pasquin and screenwriter John Scott Shepherd fail to offer any dimension to the characters that surround Joe in his journey. The character of McKinney is vastly underused, popping up from time to time only to offer Joe motivation to train harder and further build his self-esteem. This is a mistake, as McKinney is an interesting adversary, and I believe additional scenes showing McKinney’s preparation may have added depth to the overall story.

If Joe Somebody had stuck to its central message, I might have been able to sing its praises. Pasquin's direction is routine; however, one sequence involving Joe and his new friends playing squash does shows a hint of originality. His style has an innocence that works in this kind of picture and Pasquin does a good job of balancing the numerous situations, though the overlong romancing sequences between Meg and Joe are a bit cloying. The script by Shepherd is perhaps the movie's worst detriment, as he never really makes us care for Joe and his plight. He offers us the obligatory third corner of the love triangle (Greg Germann), as well as the stock sequence in which Joe's ex-wife (Kelly Lynch) realizes perhaps her ex is worth another chance.

A role like that of Joe is one that Tim Allen has been mining since he first arrived in feature-length films and he is getting to be a bit too good at it. His Joe is likeable, but throughout the film I kept envisioning other actors in the part. Allen has done terrific work (Galaxy Quest, Big Trouble) but his three films with Pasquin (The Santa Clause, Jungle 2 Jungle, and now Somebody), he seems to be playing the same character in the same situation. Bowen is a nice surprise as her work here, though not too far off from her role on the television series Ed, offers the viewer a fresh face to expect good things from. As mentioned above, Warburton is criminally underused, and I can only hope that he soon can find a role that is more than just a throwaway.

In the end, I didn't really dislike Joe Somebody as much as I felt cheated by it. It is an innocent comedy, perfect for the family, but I found myself hoping for a somewhat darker film. The subject matter seems better suited for a more skewed look at revenge and hopefully someday we will see that film.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: Presented in both the original 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio as well as a full-frame transfer, Joe Somebody offers the level of quality that has come to be expected from Fox releases. The image has a nice look throughout with sharpness and fine detail. The movie appears to have been shot with a soft filter, so the daylight sequences very film-like. Colors, while not vibrant, look great; the blues of the office buildings and the earthy interiors look terrific. I noticed no edge enhancement throughout the film, making this a very nice transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Joe Somebody features a fairly active Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that, while not reference quality, does step above the typical comedy soundtrack. The musical score by George S. Clinton comes from the rear speakers; his overbearing score booms through the room on more than one occasion. The surround speakers also come alive with ambient sounds, including one sequence set inside a karaoke club that fills the room. Dialogue is crisp and clear and easy to understand throughout, and there is little action coming from the .1 LFE track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director John Pasquin and producer Brian Reilly
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are a few extras included here, though the overall collection is lacking any real information about the film.

First up is a commentary track by director John Pasquin and producer Brian Reilly. The two get have a nice rapport, but the track is often uninteresting. The pair discuss shooting in Minneapolis as well as the general structure of the film. Pasquin mentions several times that they had over an hour's more material, so it is interesting to hear that the opening sequence was originally a scene shown thirty minutes into the film.

Four deleted scenes are shown in 1.85:1 nonanamorphic widescreen and are interesting, but deserve omission. The scenes are also available with or without commentary by Pasquin and Reilly. A five-minute featurette highlighting fight choreography, and the original theatrical trailer round out the extra features.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Joe Somebody is as harmless a film as you are likely to find, but this isn't always a benefit. The DVD is nice, and the film may be better suited for a younger audience.

 


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