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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes - With Optional Audio Commentary
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Featurette - Fight Choreography

Joe Somebody

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 95 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen) lives out a mousy cubicle existence working for Starke Pharmaceuticals as their audio/visual specialist. Despite being divorced, passed over for promotion and the apparent lack of stimulation in his job, Joe seems pretty content with his life - solely because of his spritely daughter Natalie (Hayden Panettiere).

It's not long, however, until Joe's world comes crashing down around him. Whilst disputing with burly employee Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton) over a car park on 'bring your daughter to work day', Joe gets bully slapped right in front of his daughter and fellow employees. Humiliated, Joe gets back into his car and drives home. With the company soon becoming concerned about Joe's absence from work, fellow employee Meg Harper (Julie Bowen) is deployed to find Joe, increase his morale and get him back to work. It's not the job prospects that get Joe back in the mood though… it's her. Inspired by her question of "what do you want?", Joe picks himself up, dusts himself off and returns to work with the sole intention of challenging Mark to a rematch. He soon takes up self-defence and finds that his approach to seizing life has escalated dramatically.

Tim Allen is a man of disparate talent. On one hand, he is an accomplished comedian with a hit television series and a number of impressive voice-over performances courtesy of Pixar's Toy Story franchise. On the other hand, he is an unfortunate veteran of half a decade's worth of mis-fired family tosh such as Jungle 2 Jungle, For Richer or Poorer and to a lesser extent, The Santa Clause films. Upon the sight of another Tim Allen vehicle, most of us would naturally want to run and hide, lest we have to endure another painful example of poorly delivered puns and soggy slapstick.

With 1999's Galaxy Quest, Allen hit the ground running in a timely performance that was as entertaining for Trekkies 'in the know' as it was for many a casual viewer. In short, had he screwed this one up, then it could very well have been the final nail in the coffin for his career in front of the lens. He did have timing, and he did have ability, so it must have been the vehicles holding him back; and doesn't he know it? Evidence can be found in his projects post Galaxy Quest. Some more voice-over work of course, but even some slightly cult-ish crime capers have been notched on to his belt. So, the seemingly inevitable return to the family formula in Joe Somebody should spell caution in anybody's language.

This time around though, things are a little different. Tim isn't playing for huge guffaws in Joe Somebody. Rather, he has toned things down here and fine-tuned his performance to raise heartfelt smiles and affectionate chuckles. Most of the bigger laughs are left to the supporting players around him. But it's all relative, because although the film is often quite amusing, it's obvious that most of the work has been put into the family aspects of the tale. A wise choice indeed, as this film works a lot better as a straight laced family affair than it would have had Allen been slipping on banana peels.

It also helps matters that there is a fairly dark subtext running throughout the film. Joe's battle with being popular and having a morally fulfilling existence is a life conundrum that all of us can sympathise with, and it plays out in a surprisingly engaging manner, leaving the viewer hanging until the final few moments. As far as this type of film is concerned, Joe Somebody can certainly be considered to be one of the more finely honed examples in recent times. If approached objectively, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

  Video
Contract

There isn't a great deal to complain about here transfer-wise. In general, the image quality is excellent. The level of image detail is quite admirable, and general sharpness is superlative. Colour reproduction is also quite good for the most part, with a natural and pleasing contrast between indoor and outdoor environments. Special mention should be made of the rather tasteful usage of wardrobe throughout the film. Portraying office workers in film is an easy element to get lazy with, but the subtle yet exacting palette of coloured uniforms on display were clearly selected with great skill. The same goes for much of the cinematography. It's largely soft and slight throughout, providing a relaxing and pleasant viewing experience.

The only real complaints here are some fairly obvious issues with aliasing within a few scenes, and the fact that some of the film appears a tad 'cold' overall. Otherwise, this transfer is quite lovely.

  Audio
Contract

There seems to be nothing immediately spectacular about the 5.1 audio mix here, although a small time spent with the film reveals that it is, in fact, quite dynamic. Some nice atmosphere can be found in the office scenes, whilst more impressive examples of surround mixing are quite evident in the action scenes, such as Joe's training and his rather amusing game of racquetball. The film has a fairly decent contemporary soundtrack that should appeal to the audience it's aimed at, but most importantly, it comes through crystal clear and makes good use of surrounds. Dialogue reproduction is fine throughout, with no audible problems with distortion or volume.

Overall, while it's not exactly audio-mixing in hyper-drive, the 5.1 soundtrack for Joe Somebody is an excellent example of the differences that subtle additions can make to an otherwise largely plain audio spectrum.

  Extras
Contract

A number of worthwhile extras have been included with the retail release of Joe Somebody.

The audio commentary by director John Pasquel and producer Brian Reilly isn't going to blow your socks off, but if you're interested in filmmaking you could certainly find far less informative commentary tracks out there. They're obviously new to the whole experience, but they make the most of their time to deliver as much information as possible about their approach to the film.

Four deleted scenes are also presented here with an optional commentary. They are all fairly short, but of decent enough quality. Had they been left in the film though, they would have had only a minimal effect on the narrative.

Besides the standard theatrical trailer, there is also an interesting five-minute featurette covering the fighting techniques Jim Belushi's character teaches Tim Allen in the film. It would be an easy element to take for granted, but the filmmakers dedication towards achieving realism within this area is quite admirable.

  Overall  
Contract

Joe Somebody is a surprisingly engaging movie, and if one leaves their cynical side at the door, assuming it was in tow in the first place, then it will effortlessly provide an enjoyable night's viewing. Along with the superb audio and video transfers, it also helps matters that this remains one of Tim Allen's finer family/comedy performances.


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      And I quote...
    "Along with the superb audio and video transfers, it also helps matters that this remains one of Tim Allen's finer family/comedy performances."
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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