ninth symphony films - movie reviews

JOE SOMEBODY (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  john pasquin

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  98 minutes

RELEASED  -  21 december 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  joe somebody

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $38,000,000
joe somebody - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from joe somebody at amazon.com

buy the dvd from joe somebody at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
joe is a divorced corporate everyman whose dead-end personal and professional lives are turned around after the office bully publicly humiliates him in front of Joe's daughter. as joe trains for a rematch - and give himself a makeover - he begins an unexpected ascent up the corporate ladder.




MOVIE FACT:
the scenes of tim allen racing a shopping cart were shot at a target store in minnesota.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from joe somebody

picture from joe somebody

picture from joe somebody



RATING:


one out of four possible stars

Schmaltzy and entirely too sentimental, Joe Domebody is a film whose fans would probably worship the type of films John Hughs put together in the Eighties. And in truth, it succeeds. It's just too bad that the fan base for these types of movies has matured since 1987. Joe Somebody has a problem with sappiness. It's worked in films before, but the way so many characters tear up during conversations in this movie gets a little overwhelming. Especially since this film doesn't really have a lot to say in the character department. It's like it combines a bunch of pretty faces, throws some comedy into the mix and expects the audience to cry themselves to bits when one of the characters' own eyes fills up with tears.

But because the story refuses to get serious (it just hovers over the sentimental), you really can't take the emotions from these characters seriously. When the comedy is in the forefront, the film is pretty successful. Tim Allen possesses that popular physical type of comedic ability that allowed him to be so successful for so many years on "Home Improvement." And that type of comedy lends itself well to this type of movie. But when those tear ducts start running, the screenplay seems to self destruct. The filmmakers could have done one of two things to make this movie better.

The first thing would have been to cut out most of the sentimental stuff and head full on into the territory of an all comedy all the time film. This way, Allen's comedic performance could have taken center stage. And since he's got good comedic ability, he probably would have been able to hold the spotlight. Or, the screenwriters could have written a little more brain into the screenplay with more investigation into the characters of this film. As it is, the background information given about the different people in the film is few and far between. And, as a result, it is hard to sympathize with the characters when they get serious.

And while I'm on the subject of screenplay, I'd like to point out that John Scott Shepherd failed to tie up all the loose ends in the last pages of his screenplay. Whether that was because the editor got a little ambitious in the cutting room is unknown, but there were some relationships and events in the film that never panned out. For example, during one scene, Tim Allen's character is invited to sit court-side during a basketball game. Other people from the company he works with are seated with him and after he's knocked down by a way-ward basketball player, the stadium's camera is trained on Allen, putting his picture out all over the telecast of the game.

The woman beside him, who works somewhere in the building, chooses that moment to plant a kiss on allen's cheek. It follows that Allen's love interest in the movie, played by Julie Bowen, would see this act and become jealous, forcing some kind of confrontation to occur between herself and Allen. But nothing happens. Another example of loose ends not tying up is where Greg Germann's character tells Allen's girlfriend that Allen's about to get canned. Although Germann gets his just desserts by the end of the film, it gets confusing as to why his threat is never carried out. It seemed that a bunch of people at the company all these characters work for was in on trying to get Allen fired.

But it never happens. The movie wraps itself up without allowing the set-ups to resolve themselves. You could say that I'm being too hard on a film that's not supposed to be taken that seriously. But you'd be wrong. The filmmakers themselves brought in that serious (albeit melodramatic) element into the movie and by not creating characters and situations that warrented those scenes, the film kind of digs its own grave. But even with these faults, the film is not an entire failure. In fact, some of the performances (comedy wise) are quite funny. The person who really steals the show is Jim Belushi, who plays "Chuck Scarett," a washed up actor who used to be in kung fu movies.

Chuck is the character who teaches Allen about fighting, so that Allen can go beat up the man that humiliated him in front of his daughter. But the way Belushi goes about it is very entertaining. Both Allen and Belushi are good at doing physical comedy, and seeing them together on the screen makes for some good laughs. What the viewer must focus on in this film is the comedic scenes rather than the serious stuff the filmmakers try to pass off as good drama.

This film doesn't hold up under much scrutiny, and it has many flaws in the story department, though the marketing folks would have you believe what the tag-line says: Joe Somebody is a "comedy about somebody everybody can believe in." Really, all you can do for this film is focus on the positives (like most of the funny stuff) and just try not to pay attention to the negatives (like the flawed screenplay), and hope that the movie is entertaining enough to warrent the price of a ticket.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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