All About Steve (20th Century Fox)
All About Sandra
Sandra Bullock movies are "star vehicles" in that they are usually all about Sandra or at least her character. Bullock is an actress who can make a good movie great (Miss Congeniality) and a mediocre movie good (The Proposal). She certainly adds to the appeal of her latest film "All About Steve."
In All About Steve Bullock plays Mary Horowitz, an overly intelligent woman who creates crossword puzzles for her local newspaper. Mary lives at home with her parents (Howard Hesseman and Beth Grant) and leads a fairly lonely life. She is reduced to accepting blind dates arranged for her by her parents. Her latest is with a TV cameraman named Steve (Bradley Cooper).
Steve is a nice enough guy but he quickly sees Mary as some sort of nut case and tries to avoid her. His career requires him to follow news stories around the country and he uses this as a means of escape. But Mary follows him, and follows him, and follows him. She is encouraged by his on-air guy Hartman (Thomas Haden Church). Just to aggravate Steve, he tells Mary that Steve really likes her and is just acting defensively.
The first half of the film is devoted to showing just how annoying Mary can be. The second half begins trying to redeem the character and this is where the appeal of Bullock comes in to play. You may never be completely won over by this woman but at least you are rooting for her a tad more at the end.
There are some funny moments in the movie. Some of the side comments are just hilarious and some of the visual gags are so bad they are amusing. The problem is the film is never funny enough to overcome the awkwardness of the script.
Bullock throws herself into the obnoxious requirements of the role completely. From her laugh to her jumping up and down show of excitement she is like nails on a chalkboard. You can certainly understand Steve's fear of her. But as Steve, Cooper shows nothing of the talent he has exhibited in previous roles. Steve is a bland object with his niceness being the main attraction for the lonely Mary.
Church seems to be having tons of fun with his role. Hartman is at times smarmy and stupid, but at others smart and endearing. He is all about himself and doesn't apologize for it. Sometimes some genuine goodness shows through but it is always on the spur of the moment.
The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual innuendos.
All About Steve is definitely not one of Sandra Bullock's best movies but it is one in which she makes a heroic effort to make it better than it is. That she almost succeeds says something about her talent.
I scored All About Steve a focused 5 out of 10.
Jackie K. Cooper