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Movie Review

Joe Somebody

MPAA Rating: PG for language, thematic elements and some mild violence

Reviewed by: Kevin Burk

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 21, 2001
Relevant Issues
Tim Allen in “Joe Somebody”
Featuring: Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Greg Germann, Patrick Warburton
Director: John Pasquin
Producer: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson, Matthew Gross, Ken Atchity, Brian Reilly
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Joe Sheffer is your average, mild-mannered corporate employee who is also a good Dad, but doesn’t know who he is. So opens the latest Tim Allen comedy Joe Somebody, an entertaining though not particularly memorable film.

Joe works at a large pharmaceutical company producing audio-visual presentations, has a daughter who likes him a lot and an ex-wife who took off, leaving him for a handsome actor. Joe longs deep down to be noticed, to “sit at the cool kids’ table.” Problem is, Joe doesn’t get noticed, has been passed over for a promotion and doesn’t know where is life is going. All that seemingly changes when on “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” he gets beaten up by a big, macho bully who steals his reserved parking space. Joe decides to fight back and challenges the bully (Seinfeld’s Puddy—Patrick Warburton) to a rematch. Along the way, he takes some self-defense from a washed up action movie hero played by Jim Belushi and begins to develop a romantic relationship with “wellness coordinator”. Once everyone at work hears about the fight he becomes a “somebody”—coworkers greet him in the halls, he is promoted to an executive position, and gets to hang with the cool kids (in adult terms).

I took my ten year old to see this film and was somewhat disappointed. The film has a solid message about self-worth but is filled with plenty of swearing for a PG-rated film (even his daughter swears). As my son said, “would have been good but for all the cuss words.” So, I can only give this a qualified recommendation for Christian viewing. If you see it, ask your kids why Joe made the decision he did and discuss where we find our ultimate self-worth. Some of the jokes worked, some fell flat, and I smiled quite a few times. I felt this was a good story that needed a slightly better script and should have been better written for family viewing.

Viewer Comments
Positive—It was a good story with a cheesy ending. There is some cussing, some from his young daughter. He figures out some life stuff, like how fighting isn’t the answer. I liked it, but not many people I talked to did. Not enough of a story, but it’s good if you just wanna go to a movie with your kids.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Blake Wolf, age 14
Positive—I think that Joe Somebody is a good movie. In a Christian perspective, he did the right thing in the end. But the whole ex-wife liking him again was kind of dumb but overall it was a good movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—James, age 11
Positive—This is one of the better Tim Allen movies (the other one of his I liked is Galaxy Quest). It is a cut above the run-of-the-mill Hollywood mediocrity we are used to, and except for some very mild swearing, has very little in it to call objectionable. The characters well developed and likable, and the ending is acceptable. Most movies I have seen build “up” to what I imagine most non-Christians might see as the best of all possible worlds, but in reality are lifeless compromises grown out of flat ideals, and sad hearts. This movie is much better than those. It was very enjoyable.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Bill Holmes, age 49
Positive—Joe Somebody was a good movie, it had some cussing in it, but no more than any other movie nowadays. Overall, it had a really good message. It tells us that fighting isn’t the answer, and the dangers of pride. It also had some really funny parts in it. So basically, if you’re bored one day you should go to see it. but I warn you, it does have some language in it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average]
—Jessica, age 30
Movie Critics
…1 religious profanity, 5 religious exclamations…
…rather flat, bland and innocuous…