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Joe Somebody
cast: Tim Allen, Kelly Lynch, Julie Bowen, James Belushi, and Greg Germann

director: John Pasquin

94 minutes (PG) 2001 widescreen ratio 1.85:1
20th Century Fox DVD Region 2 rental or retail
Also available to buy or rent on video

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by James Starkey
If there is one type of movie guaranteed to instil fear and loathing in the majority of serious film addicts then it has to be the feelgood movie. For years they have stood as the last-gasp option for a faltering acting career, and those who specialise in the genre often wear their unpopularity as a badge of honour.
   So why is it that these film continue to sell both in Europe and America? Could it be that amongst the dust there are a few diamonds - lightweight, but inspirational works of entertainment? Joe Somebody almost falls into this category. It is often loathsome but at the same time uplifting and honest. How such extremes can be consolidated in one single film is a mystery, but overall director John Pasquin can be credited with a work of superlative melancholy.
   Tim Allen of Galaxy Quest fame takes the lead role as troubled father Joe Scheffer, who is experiencing a form of mid-life crisis and, to compound his problem, his family show him little in the way of respect or admiration. A humiliating 'bring your kids to work' day is the straw that breaks the camel's back and Joe vows to show all in his life that he is no longer the pushover he once was.
   Pasquin's direction is a steadying influence on a script that threatens to race out of control at any minute. Although close to pedestrian at times, Allen's portrayal as a man stripped of his dignity is relatively convincing. The same cannot be said however for Hayden Panettiere who plays the role of Scheffer's daughter: the words irritating and overblown do not do her justice.
   Some credit must be given to Allen who is worthy of some note as Joe. Playing a character in the middle of a life-change is never easy even for actors of much higher stature. However, the performances of supporting actors such as Panettiere and the painful Patrick Warburton drag what could have been the beginnings of a good film into the straight-to-video level so often associated with other projects of its ilk.
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