"Offbeat, but Sometimes Endearing, Hilarious and Inspiring"
Sandra Bullock is an excellent comic actress. For 15 years, she has created several indelible characters on the big screen, starting with SPEED, then WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, MISS CONGENIALITY, and this year’s THE PROPOSAL. Now she comes along with ALL ABOUT STEVE, where she creates an entirely new, offbeat but endearing, character, a talkative, ditzy crossword puzzle creator with a kind heart.
ALL ABOUT STEVE almost gets off on the wrong foot in the first act. A fun prologue introduces viewers to Bullock’s character, Mary Horowitz, who lives with her parents while her apartment is being fumigated. Mary’s brain moves at warp speed as she showers people with an endless stream of trivial information that she uses to craft her crossword puzzles for a local paper.
Mary dreads the blind date her mother has arranged with a cable-news cameraman named Steve. She figures that the man is probably a nerd or, worse, someone whose parents are worried about his sexuality. When Steve shows up, Mary finds that he’s a very handsome, articulate fellow. So, she immediately changes into more fancy, attractive clothes. She still wears her ubiquitous fire engine red go-go boots, however.
In his truck [and this is where the movie goes a little off track], Mary, who hasn’t had a successful date in a couple years, immediately tries to seduce a startled Steve into having sexual relations with her. Their liaison is interrupted, however, not only by Mary’s incessant talking but also by a phone call asking Steve to drop what he’s doing and go to a breaking news story in Tucson, Arizona. Trying to be nice, Steve tells Mary that he wishes she could come on the road with him but says that cannot happen since she has to work.
The next day, however, Mary suddenly gets fired from her job for creating a crossword puzzle that’s solely about Steve. In fact, she titles her crossword, “All About Steve.” Mary decides getting fired is a sign that she should follow Steve to Arizona. So, she begins to relentlessly pursue Steve. Of course, Steve thinks Mary’s a crazy stalker, especially when an accident she inadvertently causes almost breaks his neck!
Encouraging Mary’s infatuation with Steve is conceited, pompous, bloviating news reporter Hartman Hughes, who enjoys torturing his insolent cameraman. But when Mary gets caught in the biggest story of the year, the tables turn. Steve and Hartman begin to feel guilty about how they treated Mary. And, Mary’s upbeat, generous nature begins to have a positive effect on everyone involved. What follows is an inspiring, uplifting, heartwarming finale, as Mary actually becomes a real heroine.
The interrupted affair between Mary and Steve and a significant amount of foul language are the primary negatives to ALL ABOUT STEVE. If you like offbeat, sometimes exaggerated humor with a big heart, however, you’ll love ALL ABOUT STEVE. If you prefer a more realistic comedy, then you may prefer Sandra Bullock’s other recent comedy this year, THE PROPOSAL.
Whatever your comedy preferences, ALL ABOUT STEVE has a much more inspiring ending than THE PROPOSAL. It even contains some overt positive references to God, the Bible and Jesus Christ, including a line where Mary says that her family is Jewish Catholic. Added on top of these things is an insightful, though exaggerated, comic attack on the sensationalism in today’s news media. Despite the exaggerations, the movie’s attack on today’s media is spot on target.
Given all that, it’s too bad there is so are so many obscenities in the picture. Most of them are not uttered, however, by Miss Bullock’s offbeat, determined, kind-hearted heroine. In fact, this movie may have her best performance since MISS CONGENIALITY. Although the rendezvous with Steve in his vehicle hurts the viewer’s sympathy for Mary, the rest of the movie creates much sympathy for her. By the end of the story, a sympathetic viewer will be rooting for Mary to succeed, especially during the high stakes in the third act.
Miss Bullock is ably supported by her co-stars, Bradley Cooper as the smart but caring cameraman and Thomas Haden Church in a hilarious performance as the pompous newsman. Also good are Ken Jeong as Steve and Hartman’s exasperated Asian producer and DJ Qualls and Katy Mixon as two kindly oddballs that Mary picks up in her pursuit of the elusive cameraman, Steve.
(CC, BB, Ro, FR, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, M) Strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview with positive references to God, the Bible, Bible passages, Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary, including heroine refers to herself as Jewish Catholic, but spoiled somewhat by a Romantic message about misfits accepting their quirks and differences while stop trying to be what society defines as normal and by an antinomian or lawless attitude toward sex in at least one scene, plus a couple light homosexual references include woman wonders negatively if a blind date’s parents are worried about his possible homosexual orientation (she turns out to be wrong and after she meets him says to herself, “He’s so NOT gay!”) and woman says Galveston, Texas is believed to be one of America’s most “gay-friendly” cities; about 21 obscenities, four strong profanities, four light profanities, one or two obscene gestures, and a few light vulgarities; some comic violence such as woman accidentally falls into a sinkhole, people think a show horse has been shot but it only heard a vehicle backfiring, and big tornado lifts up a car as it destroys some things, plus deaf children accidentally fall into sinkhole that leads to an unknown mine; light sexual content includes couple furiously starts to disrobe and touch in cab of SUV/truck but their liaison is interrupted, passionate kissing, some lightly crude innuendoes or comments, minor character tells a lightly crude story about a deformity, and a couple minor references to homosexuality but not salacious or politically correct; one shot of upper male nudity and woman in bra; no alcohol; no smoking; and, lying, media manipulation rebuked and poked fun at, mean practical jokes, brief talk about getting “a sign from the universe,” news media goes crazy over controversy about a baby being born with a third leg but story eventually turns out to have a pro-life subtext despite comical/offbeat tone.
ALL ABOUT STEVE stars Sandra Bullock as Mary Horowitz, a ditzy and talkative, but endearing, crossword puzzle creator with a kind heart. The talkative stream of crossword trivia from her turns off her handsome blind date, Steve, a cable news cameraman. Steve suddenly has to cover a breaking story in Arizona. Trying to be kind, Steve tells Mary she could come with him if she didn’t have to work. Mary suddenly gets fired from her job for creating a crossword puzzle that’s only about Steve. Mary decides it’s a sign that she should follow Steve to Arizona. What follows is a hilarious series of misunderstandings, practical jokes and mishaps, leading to an inspiring, uplifting finale.
If you like offbeat, exaggerated humor, you’ll probably love ALL ABOUT STEVE. If you prefer a more realistic comedy, you may not. Even so, Sandra Bullock creates another fun, indelible character in Mary the crossword creator, who describes herself as Jewish Catholic. ALL ABOUT STEVE contains an inspiring ending and positive references to God, the Bible and Jesus, but there is plenty of foul language and some crude, immoral innuendoes. So, approach with caution.