September 5, 2009
Review - " All About Steve " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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All About Steve
Directed By: Phil Traill
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Hayden Church, Bradley Cooper,
Ken Jeong, Keith David
Sandra Bullock’s latest film All About Steve is a tribute to stalkers
everywhere. If you just hang in there long enough, you’ll eventually
wear down the one you’re pursuing to the point where they see your
charm. Yikes. That doesn’t make sense at all as I write it. Neither did
It's a sad point to make for a movie as clumsily manipulative as "All
About Steve." It's one of those fiascoes that occurs when a big star
uses clout to power a dead-weight caprice. Early on, even in
nonactors' productions like "Speed," Bullock displayed admirable
ease with the mid-spectrum of emotion; she began to show a new
maturity a few years ago in the thriller "Murder by Numbers."
With "All About Steve" she finally manages to erase every ounce of
her natural vivacity. She isn't enough of a virtuoso to pull off a role
that's written like a cracked thesaurus. Thomas Haden Church
redeems a moment or two of screen time in the role of a macho cable-
news correspondent with a heart almost as big as his head. But he
shares more chemistry with his producer, played with sly intelligence
by that reliable scene-stealer Ken Jeong, than he does with his
cameraman, Steve. And Steve himself is a blank - all the better for the
filmmakers to twist him this way or that.
Actually, I laughed quite a bit during this film. However, most of it was a nervous, ‘We’re embarrassed for you’ laughter that
stemmed from the awkwardness of Bullock’s Mary Horowitz. While I can’t say that I enjoyed her character much, she played
her extremely well. Nerdy, brilliant, eccentric and oddly attractive, her signature red boots define Mary and her trek to find
true love. That love is captured by Steve (Bradley Cooper), a CCN cameraman who happens to meet Mary on a blind date
set up by their respective parents. While most guys will wish they had blind dates like this one, it quickly turns into a
nightmare for Steve as he politely tries to end the date with Mary.
Egged on by her alternately intelligent and insane mind, as well as Steve’s friend and aspiring anchorman Hartman (Thomas
Hayden Church), Mary follows Steve from breaking news story to breaking news story. Each of these stories is hilarious in
their own way (watch for extra baby doll appendages and their intended subtle ‘news’ jokes) and highlight the two concurrent
themes of Mary and Steve and the CCN crew after their big break. Adding to the crew’s hijinks is Angus, played by Ken
Jeong (The Hangover’s Mr Chow). While the three ‘buddy’ news guys attempt to keep their jobs and deal with the stalker in
their own unique ways, Mary befriends her two new soul mates Elizabeth (Katy Mixon) and Howard (D.J. Qualls of Road Trip
fame). Together they become the news wherever they are.
I will say, even though you see what’s coming, the scene with the kids running across a field had me laughing the most
because of the absurd appropriateness of
the premise. Alas, one scene does not make
a movie worth watching.
Highlighting the bizarreness of the movie is
the directors decision to put an ‘extra’ clip
after the credits. The clip sums up the movie
as a whole. Kinda funny, unrealistic outcome
and took too long to develop.
This movie is fun, lighthearted and goofy. But
it’s also weird, frenetic and awkward. The
comedy settles in at the end and produces the
right amount of introspection, but it doesn’t do
either overly well. So, while I wouldn’t call it a
great movie, it’s not an entirely bad movie
either. It’s an ‘entertaining rental when you’ve
run out of other stuff to see’ kind of movie.
You’ll enjoy laughing some at home, but not
be disappointed you spent twenty bucks to
see it at the theater.