Sunday, May 23, 2010

All About Steve

Sandra Bullock made three movies in 2009. Two of them were outrageously successful, commercially and critically. This review is about the third one.

All About Steve concerns Mary, who is a single woman who is living with her parents ("my apartment is being fumigated..."). She's a creator of crossword puzzles, and although her art is enjoyed by many, her knowledge of all things needed to construct such puzzles is not. She's pretty much a nerd, and acting "normal" in any situation is hard for her. She meets Steve on a blind date, pushes herself on him, and in an effort to get away, he suddenly receives a phone call, and foolishly utters the bon mots, "too bad you're not going with me."

So she does. Yep, this is a stalker movie. The trick, of course, is to make the stalker seem nice, likeable, not terrible because she tends to do stalkish things. You can see why the producers tapped on Bullock's shoulder.

But the storyline is really weak, as you can probably tell. Most critics have ruled this film a disaster, but I will not, because of just one thing: Thomas Haden Church. He is hilarious as the newscaster anchor-wannabe. Haven't we seen this before in comedy? Jim Carrey, perhaps. Will Ferrell WAS an Anchorman, so he really doesn't count. Church does it a bit differently, but every move is funny. His Hartman Hughes tries desperately, as an on-the-road, on-camera reporter, to infuse great emotion in every scene he narrates.

Bradley Cooper, who plays the hunk Steve here, has less of a fate. How much can you do as the hunk? You certainly can't be funny, although he tries. Mostly he's stuck behind the camera as Hughes' cameraman.

The screenplay gets points for not ending up where we think it might. It loses some in the simple telling of a not-so-interesting story. But the movie itself gains points in its casting.

It's not great cinema by any means, but there are some chuckles to be had. It's better than I thought it would be. Thumb's up.


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