A wise rabbi said it: ”Be yourself. Unless you’re a jerk. In which case, be somebody else.” Now here comes Joe Somebody to refute the sermon. This standard-transmission vehicle teaches that being yourself is always better than being somebody else. Because even if you’re a jerk—assuming you’re a Tim Allen kind of jerk, which is to say, an attractively imperfect middle-aged white guy—it’s better to be authentic than to fake it. Here, Allen plays Joe Scheffer, a mild-mannered, divorced video specialist at a Minnesota pharmaceuticals company, whose losing encounter with an office bully (Patrick Warburton) inspires him to beef up his personality, with input from a strip-mall martial-arts teacher (Jim Belushi).
It turns out that at least two chicks liked the old Joe better: his overly wise 12-year-old daughter (Hayden Panettiere), and a sunshiny colleague (Ed‘s Julie Bowen) who, being single and successful, naturally has miseries of her own, including a lecherous boss (Greg Germann). It turns out that Joe ends up liking the old Joe better too. Who just so happens to be the kind of average-Joe character that continues to make Allen such a tidy, non-Joe bundle. C