Joe (Tom Hanks) is a working schmo. A slave to low pay and repetition, skin washed yellow by dim fluorescent lights and bad coffee. He looks sick. He feels sick. Only low expectations and a thick skin earned from years of being browbeaten keep him functioning. That is until a visit to the doctor…
Being told that you have six months to live is undoubtedly a bummer, especially when the diagnosis is as vague as a ‘brain cloud’. Joe at least decides to live the 6 months to the fullest, and is aided and abetted by a mysterious wealthy stranger who appears with an offer, and I paraphrase; “you got nuttin to live for and nuttin to lose, jump into a volcano as a living sacrifice for me”.
The sweetener is a bottomless expense account with which to live the last six months in luxury, and Joe accepts the offer. A little odd so far, but hardly revolutionary, where Joe V differentiates itself is in the execution. Every lead female role is played by Meg Ryan with a vastly different (if not always convincing) accent, and of course the journey to the remote tropical island where Joe is to take ‘the leap’ is anything but straightforward.
The film is less filled with jokes than endearing moments and eccentric occurrences. It is wilfully silly and obviously low budget – especially the island sets which are as realistic as almost every film where a butch guy wears a dress and pretends to be a woman. But while offbeat, Joe… is never weird, which is refreshing but ultimately the reason the film is largely forgotten. Cute, quirky, neat and nice are all positive words, but none elicit passion and memorable qualities.
Instead the film is notable only for being one of Tom Hanks’ pure comedies and the film where Meg Ryan played three chicks. One of those films you sorta like but can’t remember why.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10 Possibly a split decision but I must grant the victory to the volcano on points. Nice effort though Joe, you’ll get ‘em next time.