Joe Somebody [2001]

It's brains over brawn as Tim Allen reunites with The Santa Clause director John Pasquin for this amiable comedy about a devoted dad who almost lets his fists do the talking. After being humiliated by the office bully (played by The Tick's Patrick Warburton), corporate nebbish Joe Scheffer (Allen) vows revenge. He becomes an office celebrity, taking kung fu lessons with a has-been action star (Jim Belushi) and preparing for a rematch against his tormentor. Kid stuff, to be sure, but Joe Somebody benefits from Allen's Everyman appeal, especially when he's getting his values adjusted by a caring colleague (Julie Bowen, from TV's Ed), or trying to make good with his daughter (Hayden Panettiere) and ex-wife (Kelly Lynch). The comedy is pure vanilla, and the good-guy lessons are learned with bland, family-fare efficiency, but the Allen-Bowen romance is gently engaging, and Allen's flair for slapstick doesn't go to waste. As a pacifist hero, this Joe is somebody to root for. --Jeff Shannon

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