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Film Review: "All About Steve"
September 1, 2009
by: Jared Counts
(20th Century Fox. 1 hour, 38 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including innuendos. Directed by Phil Traill.) Sandra Bullock (Mary Horowitz), Thomas Haden Church (Hartman), Bradley Cooper (Steve), Ken Jeong (Angus), DJ Qualls (Howard). Music by Christophe Beck.
Mary (Bullock), a 40-something crossword puzzle creator living with her parents, goes on a blind date with TV cameraman Steve (Cooper), becoming hopelessly obsessed with him and following him across the country. What ensues is a weird, uncomfortable and often embarrassing road trip of self-discovery.
Good screwball comedies are a tightrope act, a struggle between too much and not enough. Unfortunately, we get both of those at once. Bullock, a good comedic actress, attempts to imbue the motor-mouthed Mary with an affable cluelessness, but she ends up coming off as shrill, annoying and sometimes demented. We're meant to identify with her and support her as "not being normal," but more often than not I felt sorry or embarrassed for her. Cooper, on the other hand, plays the straight man very well, but isn't given much to do aside from smiling benignly and getting hit with things. The movie generates some laughs when it focuses on Cooper's coworkers, especially Church's feud with a rival reporter (played by Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones) and throws in some good jabs at 24-hour news channels. However, those laughs aren't big enough to cover a lackluster script and a few gaping plot holes. There's something about Mary, but it isn't anything good.
One final note: the movie's portrayal of Galveston as it's besieged by a hurricane would feel too familiar if the presentation wasn't so lazy. Galveston has the Seawall, not a boardwalk. Sheesh.