THE TAO OF STEVE is a smart and funny, but highly problematic, romantic comedy that shows what happens when a self-centered, intellectual lothario finds the woman of his dreams. Donal Logue plays Dex, an overweight kindergarten teacher in his 30s who’s developed a simple system for getting women to fornicate with him. The philosophy is based partly on Zen Buddhism and partly on images of masculinity in the movies, especially Steve McQueen. Dex abandons his philosophy when he falls in love with a woman named Syd, who’s disgusted by his slovenly habits. Can he reform to win her heart?
Logue gives an outstanding performance as Dex, who turns out to be a likeable rogue. Although THE TAO OF STEVE seems to rebuke the sins of rampant sexual promiscuity and adultery, it still accepts the sin of some premarital sex. Thus, viewers are asked to accept the fact of Dex and Syd eventually sleeping together. The movie also contains a high number of obscenities and profanities. Finally, although the title refers to Taoism, the narrative is full of references to Buddha, the false philosopher. Dex’s abandonment of his Buddhist philosophy of sex does not go far enough
(PaPa, B, LLL, V, SS, N, A, DD, M) Pagan worldview partially rebuked by moral considerations, plus sinful man talks briefly about people neglecting God & Episcopal priest rebukes man for his “moral turpitude”; 24 obscenities & 20 profanities, plus a couple sexual vulgarities; mild violence such as falling down & punch thrown; depicted adultery obscured by stacks of books & implied fornication; swimsuit nudity & naturalistic upper male nudity, plus couples shown under covers in bed; alcohol use; smoking & marijuana use depicted; and, man develops Zen Buddhist philosophy for fornicating women, but this philosophy is rebuked in the end.
THE TAO OF STEVE is a smart and funny, but highly problematic, romantic comedy that shows what happens when a self-centered, intellectual lothario finds the woman of his dreams.
Donal Logue plays Dex, an overweight kindergarten teacher in his early 30s who’s developed a simple system for getting women to fornicate with him. In fact, when viewers first meet Dex, he is having a rendezvous with a married woman during his 10th year college reunion in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Later at the reunion, he spies a nice blonde woman named Syd and strikes up a conversation with her. Although they’ve actually met before, Dex fails to recognize her, a fact which causes Syd to start giving him the cold shoulder. Dex learns that Syd is actually staying at two of his married friends’ house, while she designs sets for a local opera. Afterwards, when Dex’s motorcycle breaks down, he asks his friends to borrow their truck while the cycle waits for a special part. They’ve already promised the truck to Syd, however, so Dex is forced to make arrangements with Syd to share the truck. As Syd learns what a slob and slacker Dex has become, friction develops between them.
Meanwhile, Dex explains his philosophy of picking up and dating women to Dave, one of his younger poker buddies. The philosophy is based partly on Zen Buddhism and partly on images of masculinity that Dex has seen in the movies. For Dex, the prototypical cool guy is Steve McQueen. Hence, the title of his philosophy, the Tao, or Way, of Steve. “Steve is a state of mind,” Dex tells his buddy. The first few lessons are: never try to be friends with a woman, let go of your desire but not necessarily your lust, and do something excellent in the woman’s presence. Apparently, Dex is expert at the gift of gab, and it is this gift that helps carry the story along.
Eventually, Dex decides to abandon his philosophy because he’s falling in love with Syd. He tries to apologize to her for not remembering her from college, but she doesn’t quite believe his apologies, even when they go on a camping trip together. When Dex decides to give up his affair with the married woman, her husband learns of the affair and knocks Dex out. Syd begins to believe that Dex can become more mature, so they establish a tentative romance that leads to sleeping together. The romance is spoiled when Dave spills the beans about the Tao of Steve. Everything ends happily ever after, however.
Donal Logue gives an excellent performance as Dex, who turns out to be a likeable rogue. He took home the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Greer Goodman as Syd co-wrote the script with her sister Jenniphr [sic], who directed this movie. Greer gives able support to Logue’s character. Her Syd still has feelings for Dex, even though he’s forgotten her, a fact which obviously hurts.
Although THE TAO OF STEVE seems to rebuke the sins of rampant sexual promiscuity and adultery, it still accepts the sin of some premarital sex, depending on the circumstances. Thus, viewers are asked to accept the fact of Dex and Syd eventually sleeping together. Except for one scene, however, most of the sex in the story is implied. The movie also contains a high number of obscenities and profanities. Finally, although the title refers to Taoism, the movie is full of verbal and visual references to Buddha, the false pagan philosopher who has become an idol throughout the world. Dex’s abandonment of his Buddhist philosophy of sex and romance does not really go far enough; and, regrettably, some viewers may want to learn more about Buddhism after seeing this movie.
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