All About Steve *½
Coming just a couple of weeks after a mediocre romantic comedy from the director of Two Weeks Notice and Miss Congeniality – Did You Hear About the Morgans? in case you don’t know what film I am talking about – we now have a mediocre romantic comedy from the producer of Two Weeks Notice and Miss Congeniality. All About Steve sees Sandra Bullock once again in romcom mode after last year’s hugely successful The Proposal and being joined by Bradley Cooper, once again in comedy mode after last year’s hugely successful The Hangover, although this film, having already been released in the states, did not perform nearly as well as either, finishing with about what Bullock’s last film took on its opening weekend at the box office, and less than the opening weekend for Cooper’s previous release. And, if reviews from across the pond are anything to go by, it is not hard to understand why, as All About Steve has been reported to be truly abysmal. Something which I can now confirm is an accurate assessment.
Invariably wearing her bright red go-go boots, Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) is a crossword puzzle constructor whose mega-sized brain unfortunately ensures that she’s also a hopeless singleton. However, after a short-but-sweet blind date, Mary falls head over heels for handsome cable news cameraman Steve (Bradley Cooper). She’s convinces that Steve is ‘the one’, while Steve just thinks Mary is crazy. Determined to be with the man she thinks is her soulmate, Mary pursues Steve relentlessly as the travels the country covering news stories. Mary’s infatuation with Steve is encouraged by self-serving news reporter Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church). But when Mary gets caught up in the news story of the year, both Steve and Hartman begin to see her differently…
All About Steve is a very bad film but the blame for this cannot be put onto its performers. Sandra Bullock is actually quite decent as Mary, bringing the character to life with a distinct kooky charm. Sure, her character is extremely irritating and we can really empathies with the people she frustrates along the way but, just like many of the characters in the film, we do kind of warm up to her as the film progresses. Bullock has a good love-hate (Mary loves Steve but Steve is terrified of Mary) kind of chemistry with co-star Bradley Cooper, whose reactions as Steve to Mary’s advances both seem very authentic and quite amusing. The chemistry between them continues to work pretty well as the dynamic changes to a more like-like kind of relationship, although in a slight change to the norm for this kind of film, romance is not in the air. Even Thomas Haden Church and Keith David (as Steve’s boss) are pretty amusing but despite the efforts of everyone, the material is just too weak to give them anything to really work with and their talents are ultimately wasted. Elsewhere, the film offers little of value. Lacking any wit, imagination or anything remotely smart, the film relies heavily on a lowbrow, although not crude, style of humour and the hit rate of the gags is extremely low. Apparent attempts at satire fail miserably and the use of the Jaws theme music to portray Steve’s horror whenever Mary appears is a misjudged and unimaginative attempt to create laughs, one that didn’t raise even a tiny giggle for me. There are a few gags that do hit the mark but when only two or three out of an entire film are laugh out loud moments and the funniest involves Mary falling into a hole in the ground and the event being watched over and over by Steve’s boss, you just know that the film is a dud. Frankly, much of the humour is just too cringe-worthy to work. So, overall, All About Steve is a comedy that does have its moments and shows the potential for what could have been something much better, but abysmal writing and direction means that the film is just not worth the price of a cinema ticket. Will you want to get your Steve on? I highly doubt it.
Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)
© BRWC 2010.
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