Average Joe review: A violent, tense crime thriller that’s also brutally funny

After his father Teddy’s death, Pittsburgh plumber Joe Washington (Deon Cole) expects his main concern to be what to do with his dad’s Steelers season tickets. However, a visit to his father’s tow truck office reveals three Russian mobsters hunting for the $10 million Teddy stole from them. Created by Robb Cullen (Lucky) and featuring a strong ensemble cast, Average Joe delivers a unique mix of thrilling crime suspense, dark humor, and complex family dynamics.

Joe’s encounter with the Russians, including Dimitri (Chris Petrovski) who’s been dating Joe’s daughter Jennifer (Ashley Olivia Fisher), escalates quickly into a violent confrontation. With two dead henchmen and a mysterious $10 million heist, Joe and his best friend Leon (Malcolm Barrett) are left to unravel Teddy’s dangerous connections to notorious mobster Nicolai Dzhugashvili (Pasha D. Lychnikoff). Their goal: find the money and escape the Russians.

Average Joe maintains a frenetic, “anything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong” pace that keeps the caper engaging. Just as Joe and Leon ponder the life-changing possibilities of $10 million, their cop friend Touch (Michael Trucco) unwittingly joins the mix. Addicted to pills and disillusioned with his police job, Touch is determined to be part of the action. As mishaps and challenges mount, the group expands to include Joe’s daughter, his wife Angela (Tammy Townsend), and Leon’s true-crime enthusiast wife, Cathy (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams).

With the Russians closing in, the group races to find the hidden money while grappling with their desires for a better life and the moral dilemmas they face. While Angela insists, “This is not who we are,” the group’s actions gradually morph them into something unrecognizable, making their journey both compelling and unsettling to witness.

Balancing tension and violence with humor, Average Joe offers a mix of morbid and light-hearted moments. From dismembering a corpse to comical bickering, the show injects humor into its intense narrative. Barrett shines as the affable Leon, while McWilliams steals scenes as the savvy Cathy. Cole delivers a strong dramatic performance as Joe, portraying his character’s terror and resentment with depth.

Although not for the faint of heart due to its graphic violence, Average Joe is a gripping series that defies expectations. Grade: B+

The first three episodes of Average Joe are available for streaming on BET+ now, with new episodes releasing every Thursday.

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