Monday, 2 November 2009
All About Steve
When we're introduced to Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) at the beginning of All About Steve, it'd be handy to know whether she's a hero we should cheer for or a total fruitloop we should laugh at. But instead of laying down those basic rules, we see her acting "quirky" - which basically means she wears red boots, talks all the time, lives with her parents (temporarily) and puts together crossword puzzles for a living. Annoying? yes. A complete freak? Hardly. Yet no sooner has the film begun than every single person she meets – including her boss and a bunch of kids at a careers day (why is a woman with no kids, no siblings and no friends at a school careers day?) – is telling her she's a loser because she doesn't have a man.
So when she goes on a blind date that very night and the guy turns out to be the hunky Steve (Brad Cooper), she tries to have sex with him in his car parked outside her parents house - before they go on the date. Steve isn't supposed to be gay, but still knocks back a sexually willing woman who looks like Sandra Bullock. So she decides to follow Steve across country as he works as the cameraman for roving news jerk Hughes (Thomas Haden Church), and suddenly it feels like we should be siding with Steve as the crazy stalker lady keeps turning up in his life.
Maybe if All About Steve was funny this wouldn't matter. However, this is a romantic comedy without either romance or comedy, and so scene after scene clunks along painfully until the whole story grinds to a halt with Mary at pretty much the exact same spot in her life she started at. Even Thomas Haden Church - always funny playing a self-obsessed jerk - can't make the dull dialogue work. Why would you go see this? Unless you hate yourself, you wouldn’t. And no-one hates themselves this much.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #466)