Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I wasn't rooting against All About Steve. The trailer didn't look that good but I was prepared to be pleasantly surprised since Sandra Bullock's last two movies, The Lake House and The Proposal were movies I expected to suck and ended up enjoying. "Third time's the charm," I was thinking as I bought the ticket. Now, how do I put this? If All About Steve was a man, I would want to take a hammer and pound this guy's crotch until he begged me to kill him but I wouldn't kill him. Instead, I would wait for his pain to subside THEN I would kill him. This is mainly because the movie made me get my hopes up then crushed them.

All About Steve takes the concept of stalking and frames it in the most loving manner possible. Sandra Bullock plays Mary Horowitz. Mary's in her 40s and still single, mainly because she's insane. Oh, not dangerously so. She's not "cut off your skin and wear it as a suit" crazy. Rather she's "Makes crossword puzzles for a living and doesn't understand why the world is as obsessed with boring trivia as she is" crazy. This makes Mary two things. One, she is very good at her job of writing crossword puzzles. Two, it also makes her extremely annoying and even downright repellent. This becomes obvious when she first meets Steve (Bradley Cooper who seems to be in every movie these days). She falls for him so hard the second her eyes land on him that she starts tearing his clothes off as soon as they get into his car. Steve thinks this is cool at first but is so turned off by her inability to shut up and stop endlessly spouting her every thought, be it trivial or borderline creepy, that he fakes a phone call from work to get away from her.

Mary ends up getting fired from her crossword puzzle job when she writes an entire puzzle about Steve. This turns out to be a good thing as she now has time to follow him around as he travels around the country in his capacity as a cameraman for the fictional cable news network CCN. His partners there are a mildly stupid reporter named Hartman played by Thomas Haden Church and their sound man played by Cooper's fellow Hangover alum Ken Jeong. Hartman is annoyed with Steve for a reason that was so good I didn't bother to commit it to memory so he starts making sure Mary can always find them after she starts showing up at their shooting locations unexpectedly. This backfires though when Mary's hijinks begin interfering with their job. That brings down the ire of their boss (Keith David who plays the role as if he were the police lieutenant telling Steven Seagal or someone like that to turn in his badge and gun) and decides to fire Hartman and Steve until Mary actually becomes the central focus of the story they are covering. Without going into too many details, Mary's act of stalking pretty much saves the day and Steve even says to her, "Don't ever change," even though a massive amount of change would do her a world of good.

In real life, being stalked is a horrible and often frightening experience. Stalkers slash your tires and leave dead animals in your mail box to prove their love for you. It would be very difficult to try to build a romantic comedy around a premise like that. I'm not sure what made a first time feature director and the writer of the awful License To Wed think they were up to the job. This "romantic comedy" is anything but romantic and hardly ever a comedy. The only consistently funny character comes from The Daily Show's Jason Jones who plays a rival reporter.

And with that, the summer movie season officially winds down on a very low note. I'll try to keep an open mind the next time Sandra Bullock plays a mature woman acting like a 14 year old when it comes to the ways of love but she has lost loads of credibility with me and cost me the childlike innocence I possessed when I went to see her movies. Thanks a lot, Bullock.

No comments: