Joe Somebody (Rental) (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Trailer-Ice Age; Joe Somebody; Legally Blonde; Simpsons Season 2
Trailer-Doctor Dolittle 2
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 94:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Pasquin
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Tim Allen
Julie Bowen
Patrick Warburton
Greg Germann
Hayden Panettiere
Case ?
RPI Rental Music George S. Clinton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 English for the Hearing Impaired 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 a career of playing the not particularly quick-witted, but always with a good heart, everyman, placed in a not so ordinary situation. From his sitcom Home Improvement through a series of movies that revolved around what was largely the same character, he has used his natural charisma and "normal guy" mannerisms to keep him in work. While arguably his best film role came when he adapted this character to a very different situation in Galaxy Quest, he is still in fine form for Joe Somebody.

    In Joe Somebody, Tim Allen plays middle-aged video processing operator Joe Scheffer. Joe has been working at the same company for ten years, has just missed out on a promotion, has been recently divorced from his wife (who is now in a very amorous relationship with a young actor), and is struggling to make sense of his life. The final straw comes when Joe, taking his daughter Natalie (Hayden Panettiere) to work, is beaten up by company bully Mark McKinney (a solid as usual Patrick Warburton) over a parking space. Humiliated in front of his daughter, he decides - with the "help" of company wellness coordinator Meg Harper (Julie Bowen) - that the only way to win back everyone's respect is to fight Mark, and he seeks the help of martial arts instructor (and former Z-movie star) Chuck Scarret (Jim Belushi). Once all the employees find out about Joe's challenge, things start to change - he gets the respect he has always craved, and suddenly everyone thinks that he is important. But is his rise in popularity going to satisfy his daughter, or for that matter a certain wellness coordinator that he find himself falling for?

    This type of movie is never going to win any awards. It is the sort of material that would not be out of place coming from Disney. Yes, it is light fluff, but at least it is generally entertaining and enjoyable light fluff. The first twenty minutes are probably the hardest to get through, with some truly horrendous dialogue and farcical situations used to set up the characters and the premise - if you can get through this, you are in clear sailing for the rest of the movie.

    The performances - from a large number of TV actors - are generally passable without any real stand-outs, as Tim Allen turns in yet another outing for his everyman, while Greg Germann's Jeremy could be the twin brother to Ally McBeal's Richard Fish. Joe's daughter Natalie is ably portrayed by the enthusiastic "daughter-of-the-month", Hayden Panettiere, who again could be the direct descendant of her character in Remember The Titans. The only real weak link is Julie Bowen's Meg. Bowen relies more on her dazzling smile (and yes, it is enough to make any man so inclined stop paying attention to her acting for a while) than any real ability, and is far better suited to the role of TV love interest where she can smile her way through limited screen time, instead of a movie where we have to put up with the downsides for almost an hour and a half.

    Overall, Joe Somebody is a film that really won't tax the brain, and will keep the family amused on a lazy summer afternoon. Just a word of warning however - this film is rated PG for a reason, and parents may want to view this before showing it to young children (don't worry, you will probably enjoy it anyway) as it does contain some relatively mature themes that may not be easy in the explanation.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer presented for Joe Somebody is watchable, but a little disappointing given how recent the movie is - it really does "look" like a cheap family movie.

    Presented at 1.85:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a relatively soft transfer. There is an overall lack of fine detail, and the entire image looks generally dull. Not helping matters is a moderate level of background grain, although it really only gets out of hand on the shot across the cafeteria from 5:09 to 5:16. Shadow detail is much better, and is quite good. It is relatively easy to make out any necessary detail in the darker areas of the screen, and as there are a number of night-time scenes, this is a definite plus. There is no low-level noise present.

    Colours are quite muted, with outdoor scenes especially being affected. This was probably not helped by what appears to be constant overcast conditions.

    There are no real compression artefacts, although the fact that the entire film has been squeezed onto a single layer probably did not help with the overall softness of the image. Aliasing is a surprisingly common occurrence for such a soft transfer. Examples can be found on virtually every shot of the front of the office in which Joe works (such as at 1:05 or 33:39), and it appears on everything from a wicker basket (14:54) to the underside of a bridge (58:14 to 58:20). When it does occur it can be quite distracting, and certainly does not help the transfer. There are only a few film artefacts, and those are tiny and virtually impossible to spot.

    The subtitles are generally accurate, but tend to abbreviate on a semi-regular basis. They are also paced well enough to be easy to read.

    This is a single layer disc, and as such does not contain a layer change.

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

Audio

    This is a serviceable audio transfer that works well enough for a dialogue driven comedy. Just don't expect the next audio demonstration disc, and you won't be disappointed.

    This disc contains a single audio track, being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There are never any issues with mumbles or other mis-pronounced lines, and there is little in the way of background hiss. Audio sync is generally good, although there are a few occasions (such as at 9:16 and 86:59) where it slips slightly out for a few seconds.

    The music consists of a score, provided by George S. Clinton, and a small selection of contemporary pieces. The score is bold, and at times seems more suited to an action movie, but at least it puts the viewer in the right frame of mind. The contemporary pieces work quite well and have generally been chosen for a specific purpose.

    The surrounds exist simply to carry the score. Every now and then they consider producing some ambient noise, but only ever in short bursts, and then they drop back to silence until called upon by the score again. Don't even mention directional effects.

    The subwoofer, like the surrounds, finds its only purpose is backing up the music.

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

Extras

    This is a bare bones rental disc that contains...an extra! Unfortunately, it is not anything to really get excited about.

Menu

    The menu is the standard Fox rental menu, being static, 16x9 enhanced, and with a copy of a promo picture the only tie-in to the movie.

Deleted Scenes (3:29)

    This presents three deleted scenes that are not exactly riveting viewing - they contain no jokes, and are basically just more dialogue that was cut. They are presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Trailers (6:23)

    Shown automatically on disc insert (they can be skipped by pressing the menu button) are the following Fox trailers:     All are presented in the aspect ratios noted, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (note that the Legally Blonde trailer caused a signal drop-out between my Pioneer DV-535 and Loewe Xelos TV - this does not occur on the computer).

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:     Obviously a rental disc cannot be compared to a fully featured retail disc, but none the less, the Region 1 is the clear winner here. However, if ever a movie really didn't need extras it is this one, so only die-hard Tim Allen fans need be disappointed.

Summary

    Joe Somebody is light fluff, ideally suited to the rental market. It is never going to set the world on fire, but those who have enjoyed Tim Allen's performances in, well, pretty much anything else he has done, will probably enjoy this.

    The video is soft, and suffers from too much aliasing. Despite this, it is still quite watchable.

    The audio quality is serviceable, being good enough for a dialogue driven comedy, but nothing more.

    The extras (really extra if you discount the rental promos), is short and not particularly interesting - certainly not worth grabbing the disc for alone.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, December 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - John Z
DVD Net - Nathan C

Comments (Add) NONE