|Inky: ** 1/2
Starring: Tim Allen, Julie Bowen, Kelly Lynch, Hayden Pennetiere, and Patrick Warburton
Rating: PG for language, thematic elements and some mild violence.
I know what you're thinking. This movie was seen by maybe 13 or 14 people. It opened at #8 in the box office and the next week dropped out of it completely. It had mixed reviews, not much star power, and no profits. So the surprising thing about it for me was that it actually wasn't horrible.
Yeah, sure. Jim Belushi wouldn't be the FIRST guy I'd pick for a karate instructor. But he has some funny moments, when not using sexual innuendo. And, yeah, there's several crotch jokes ("You must have balls of steel!" Har har har). But, when it boils down to it, the movie has good morals, and a strong message.
This is Tim Allen's movie all the way. He's the headlining star, he has lots of the jokes, and he's a divorced and loving Dad to Hayden Penetierre's character, Natalie. He dates occasionally, but tries to spend time with his daughter.
My favorite character, however, would have to be Natalie. Penetierre brings some emotional depth to the character, and conveys her anger about the divorce nicely. She makes the character look exactly what it's supposed to look like: Upset, confused, and trying to remain happy while her Dad works like mad and her Mom does yoga and makes out with "Actor-Boy" (Mom's boyfriend.) She also swears like a sailor, which doesn't help her get friends. She also writes, and another plot point comes out of that.
But I guess I should tell you a little bit about the story, though, shouldn't I? It's basically about Joe Schaeffer, just a normal cubicle worker with a boring life. He gets slapped twice at work over a parking space, humiliating him in front of his co-workers and 12-year-old daughter (it is "Take Your Daughter To Work Day") This inspires him to want to have a re-match, and he trains for self-defense, lifts weights, and generally beefs up a bit. The whole movie leads up to that re-match, and Joe's girlfriend (Julie Bowen, TV's Ed) trying to stop him from getting his butt kicked again.
Joe Somebody does have good morals. There's language, sure, but it shows that divorce is hard on the child, and that revenge isn't always the answer to your problems. It rates a 2½ out of 4.
Inky is reachable at Inkynobi@aol.com