Directed by: Joe Pasquin
Written by:John Scott Shepherd
Starring: Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, James Belushi, Greg Germann
Released: April 25, 2002
Grade: A-

If I wasn’t a critic, I probably wouldn’t have seen this film.  The trailer was mediocre, there’s been little advertising and the thought of Tim Allen in another slick slapstick comedy didn’t excite me.  My heavy doubts were removed within the opening 15 minutes when I realised there was a darker tone to this comedy.

Joe Scheffer (Allen) has worked at the same job for over 10 years.  He’s one of those guys who always does the hard work and always puts in the overtime but never gets noticed or rewarded.  He’s just another goldfish in the bowl.  Recent events have left him questioning whether he’s achieved what he wanted out of life.  His wife Meg (Bowen) has divorced him and their daughter, Natalie, appears to be suffering from the separation.  Further, he’s been promised a promotion for over a year and the firm is not delivering.

But the simplest events often have a way of changing one’s life.  In the work carpark with his daughter, Joe is frustrated to see an employee, Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton), park where he is not allowed.  Deciding to confront him, Joe is hit by Mark and feels the embarrassment of having the incident seen by many fellow colleagues and more importantly, his daughter.  He skips work for a few days and confines himself to his house but is rescued by a new office friend, Meg (Harper) who insists he return.

Back at the office, Joe is now a celebrity.  Everyone wants to meet the guy who stood up to Mark and he now finds he’s been included in everything from which he was previously excluded.  His status grows even more when he challenges Mark to a rematch in two weeks back in the office carpark and the whole office is now buzzing.  So to toughen up, he sees martial arts “expert” Chuck Scartt (Belushi) to give him a few lessons.

It’s familiar material but there are a few nice touches along the way to keep things fresh.  For example, Joe’s daughter shows nice intelligence.  When Joe spends time with his new “girlfriend” Meg, she didn’t go through the whole “I want you and mommy to get back together” dramas.  Further, when her dad gets tickets to a basketball game and doesn’t invite or even tell her, she doesn’t get upset.

I’m sure a few people will be able to relate to parts of Joe’s story.  There are so many quiet, hardworking people in this world who don’t get noticed because they are overshadowed by those with the bigger mouths.  Hopefully, the film Joe Somebody won’t get overshadowed itself by other, shallower releases.