Making the Grades
THE ORDINARY "A/V guy" at a huge pharmaceutical company, Joe (Tim Allen) is willing to accept his anonymity until "Bring Your Daughter to Work" day. Pulling into the parking lot reserved for 10-year company veterans, Joe is pushed out of the last remaining spot by a lowly seven-year blowhard. Getting out of their vehicles, a confrontation ensues that ends with Joe on the ground after receiving two punches from his adversary. Adding insult to injury, 12-year-old Natalie (Hayden Panettiere) has witnessed the whole event.
Wiser than either of her recently estranged parents, Natalie attempts to resuscitate her dad from the resulting depression and drinking binge that keeps him from his job for several days. But it's not until the company wellness coordinator Meg (Julie Bowen) asks Joe, "What do you want?" that he comes up with a solution: Challenge the parking lot bully to a rematch. By day, Joe's newfound chutzpa rockets him to the top of the company popularity charts and results in a major promotion, while by night Joe takes martial arts training and works out in anticipation of the big event.
For all the frustrated and forgotten cubicle dwellers in corporations across America, Joe Somebody will certainly be a call to arms. Hopefully, those watching Joe's comedic workout and determination to grow his muscles will also recognize the immaturity of the adults portrayed in this film. With coworkers and corporate executives driven into a betting frenzy over who will win, you've got to wonder what kinds of drugs these people produce.
Fortunately, Joe's desire for revenge is tempered at the last minute, although the script still allows him to throw a seemingly benign punch at the throat of a bad guy. This particular move is repeated earlier in the film, during Joe's training. Parents please note that this is anything but comical, and could cause death from suffocation if imitated (see our "Talk About the Movie" section). This dangerous modeled behavior, along with more "rude" words than necessary leaves us unable to recommend this Joe to anybody.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Joe Somebody.
Warning: On two occasions in this movie, a punch is shown where a person is quickly “jabbed” in the front of the throat—commonly referred to as the Adam’s Apple—resulting in a temporary loss of breath. In reality, a blow of this kind could result in snapping the brittle larynx causing quick death due to suffocation.
While the movie focuses on Joe, what about the bully? Why would he be motivated to have punched Joe in the first place? What do you think people who resort to physical violence may be lacking in their lives?
Another movie dealing with midlife self-esteem issues is Disney’s The Kid.