Joe Somebody (2001)

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Released 8-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes-4 +/- commentary
Theatrical Trailer-2:13
Featurette-Fight Choreography
Audio Commentary-John Pasquin (Director) & Brian Reilly (Producer)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 94:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Pasquin
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Tim Allen
Julie Bowen
Kelly Lynch
Greg Germann
Hayden Panettiere
Patrick Warburton
Jim Belushi
Case ?
RPI $26.95 Music George S. Clinton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Croatian
Czech
Danish
English
Finnish
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Tim Allen has made two marvellous movies (The Santa Clause and Galaxy Quest), and a couple that don't quite work (Jungle to Jungle, For Richer or Poorer). So I approached this one with some trepidation. It didn't get a good rap when it was in the cinema, but maybe it was underrated? I hoped so.

So where does this one fall? Well, it's not another Galaxy Quest, sadly, but it is quite interesting. It is a bit of a deviation for Tim, in that this film, despite having quite a bit of comedy in it, has a core that's fairly sombre.

The basics of the plot are simple enough: Joe Scheffer (Tim Allen) is a well-meaning guy, but generally ignored by everyone except his daughter Natalie (Hayden Panettiere). His boss overlooks him for promotion. His wife left him for an actor. But he reaches a new low when the company bully, Mark McKinney (Patrick Warburton), slaps him around in the company car park after a disagreement over a parking space.

Joe starts drinking heavily and doesn't show up at work. He's severely depressed. The company's "wellness" coordinator, Meg Harper (Julie Bowen), is sent out to his house by company executive Jeremy (Greg Germann, in a role not unlike his role in Ally McBeal) Jeremy isn't in the least concerned about Joe's wellbeing, but only about the possible lawsuit he could file. Meg is worried about Joe, and more than a little surprised at his reaction when she asks him what he wants.

Joe decides that what he wants is a chance to reclaim his self-respect. He challenges McKinney to a rematch in three weeks time (after McKinney has served the suspension he was given for striking Joe). Joe starts training for this rematch, and enlists the help of run-down martial arts teacher Chuck Scarett (Jim Belushi).

The big surprise comes when he returns to work news of the challenge has circulated (we all know that gossip is the only form of communication that is proven to exceed the speed of light), and he is finally being recognised and greeted by everyone. People know his name. This is a huge boost to his ego.

Will Joe win? Should he win? Should he fight at all? What will he do to keep his new-found respect? There are dark threads woven through this comedy, and that's good. The love interest is fairly pedestrian, and the other elements of the plot are not original, but the darker parts are what lifts this story out of the mundane, and makes it worthwhile. If you approach this film with fairly low expectations, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. That's the theatrical aspect ratio.

The image is sharp and clear, with good shadow detail. There is no obvious film grain, and no low level noise. Of course, we'd hope that a film made last year would look this good, but it doesn't always turn out that way.

Colour is handled well, showing a gradual subtle transition from the old Joe's slightly washed-out world to a more colourful one. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are no film artefacts of any significance.

There's some very minor aliasing, only a brief touch of moire (on a grey plaid jacket), but no MPEG artefacts.

There are subtitles in twelve languages. The English subtitles are actually English for the Hearing Impaired they are the only ones I watched. They are well-timed, easy to read, and as accurate as usual.

The disc is single-sided, RSDL. The layer change comes at 73:45, but you won't spot it without technical assistance. It's in the middle of a fade to black between scenes, and completely invisible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The soundtrack is only provided in English, so that's what I listened to. It is Dolby Digital 5.1 and it really uses the 5.1 mix at times.

The dialogue is clear and easy enough to understand. There are no audio sync problems.

The score comes from George S. Clinton. It's nothing special, but it does the job. There are a number of contemporary songs woven into the sound, some of them quite appropriate.

The surrounds aren't continuously drawing attention to themselves, but they do get used superbly at times. The use of them during the racquetball (they call it "squash" it's not!) match, for example, is quite spectacular, and amusing.

The subwoofer rumbles away subtly, never drawing attention to itself, nicely integrated.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There is a pretty reasonable selection of extras on this disc.

Menu

The menus are animated with sound. It can get a bit tiresome fairly quickly, but it does the job.

Deleted Scenes (3:57)

These are presented individually, or with Play All, with or without commentary. It's interesting why some of them were removed (they rearranged the storyline).

Theatrical Trailer (2:13)

This is more than a little misleading. In a couple of cases it plays one side of one scene, then the other side of another scene, implying the two are connected, when they are not.

Fight Choreography Scarett's method (5:08)

This is a discussion of the fighting style Scarett teaches. It's not a pure style of any kind, but a blend of techniques from all over, all intended to be simple, and easy enough to learn. Interesting stuff.

Audio Commentary - John Pasquel (director), Brian Reilly (producer)

Not the most polished of commentaries I suspect neither has done one before but interesting enough. Mostly a discussion of how and why certain elements were put together. They point out a number of flaws in the film. This one's a maybe

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 disc, released last year, is virtually the same as this, with the same extras. As far as I can tell, there's no reason to choose one version over the other.

Summary

A reasonable, but not fabulous, movie, given an outstanding transfer.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is very good, with some excellent surround work.

The extras are reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, April 18, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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