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Movie Review: All About Steve

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Sandra Bullock has been all over this summer. She is one of America's sweethearts and a proven draw at the box office. While not guaranteed blockbusters, her films are generally of modest budget and usually pull down a profit. Besides the money issues, she has a likable screen presence and I find that I usually want to like her, even in roles or films that are not quite up to par. That logic applies to All About Steve. It's not a good movie, but it has moments that will make you laugh. This movie defies logic. It features characters and situations that feel on the edge of reality while seeming unreal, yet through it all, I wanted to like Sandra Bullock.

Sandra Bullock is Mary Horowitz. She designs weekly crossword puzzles for the local newspaper. She loves her job and she is good at it. So good, in fact, that she wants to make daily crosswords, although her editor says there is no room for them. Beyond her skills with words and the depth of her knowledge of facts, she has no social skills. She is the weird girl in the red boots (yes they are a constant part of her wardrobe) who nobody understands. She lives with her parents and spends most of her free time with her cat thinking up new crosswords.

Then fate steps in and sends her life down another path. Her mother has gotten together with one of her friends and set Mary up on a bind date with, you guessed it, Steve (Bradley Cooper, hot off The Hangover). Steve is a cameraman for remote reporter Hartman (Thomas Haden Church). He shows up for their date, a date that Mary was a little apprehensive about in the first place, and there is initially some attraction. Problems begin as soon as they get in his truck to leave. She pretty much throws herself at him, and he does and says whatever he can to extricate himself from the situation.

Steve successfully escapes and heads out on the road with Hartman and their producer Angus (Ken Jeong of The Hangover and The Goods, busy summer for the comic). He gets himself right into his work, safe in the thought that crazy Mary is far away. However, Mary has different thoughts after their first encounter. She sets out on the road, tracking his every movement, all to the chagrin of Steve.

The movie is utterly ridiculous. Yes, I still believe the situation could actually exist on the outskirts of reality, but you cannot deny the serious goofiness of the movie. Its problem, as I see it, is that it is much too broad. If the film was played a little straighter, a little less broad, I think it would have been better.

What makes it work as much as it does is Sandra Bullock's absolute commitment to the character of Mary Horowitz. For all intents and purposes, Bullock is gone leaving only Mary. I do realize that this is what an actor does, but it was still fun watch her commit. Mary is such a goofy character and the way she handles herself in what may be a romantic situation is very funny.

Overall, this is a hard movie to recommend. It does not really hold together. Again, it comes back to the broadness of the characters and actions. What could have been an interesting take on the romantic comedy (with the stalker aspect) felt like something a lot more generic with a single likable actor in the middle playing a character that is borderline crazy.

Bottom line. It is not nearly as bad as I had been initially led to believe, but it is no hidden gem. It will provide some chuckles, mostly brought about by Sandra Bullock's antics, but it is soon forgotten as you leave the theater. Perhaps someone else will see this, recognize the poor execution of a good idea and deliver a remake.

Not Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • http://waftingcurtains.wordpress.com Chelsea Doyle

    You basically told me what I thought would be true about this movie. Thanks! I love Sandra but I think I’ll pass on this one.

  • http://www.ambersilverstar.com Amber Silverstar

    There are so many new movies out that I am going to see that I made a list. Last on the list (if at all) is Sandra Bullock’s ALL ABOUT STEVE. However, I am an ardent fan of hers and this was the movie playing when and where I had time to go to the theater. So I buy the tickets.

    The results – I am pleasantly surprised; as usual Ms. Bullock just acts her part (as Mary Hartman) in her charming, engrossing, and believable way. As Mark Twain once said (something like) – “You can make a story as fantastical as you like but you have to make it believable.”

    After I finish watching A.A.S. – I am a believer once again in Sandra Bullock’s ability to carry on with a ridiculous plot, setting and characters and still make the movie successful, funny, and charming.

    However, I do think she is a little bit old to play the sweet and naive ingenue running around in red boots trying to get her man, to be popular with everyone. to please her parents, and to be victorious in her choice of careers. Except there are countless women age 40 plus still out there living the same drama and chasing the same dreams.

    In the end of course, Sandra (Mary) tells us … you just can’t fill up the “empty” spaces even if you are successful if it means loosing your soul and self worth in the process. Anyone listening?

    I enjoyed the movie, the characters, the theme and the message but I do think maybe Ms. Bullock needs to switch gears soon and give us something a little more gutsy and a little less crusty.