A hunky TV news cameraman named Steve (Bradley Cooper, hot off of surprise hit The Hangover
) gets stalked by a lonely crossword puzzle creator named Mary (Sandra Bullock). Although only one screenwriter is credited, All About Steve
feels like it's been clumsily patched together from a dozen different versions of itself. The story makes no sense and there's very little that resembles recognisable human behavior...and yet, for that very reason, the movie exerts a perverse fascination. Some parts are actually funny--Thomas Haden Church (Sideways), as a reporter hungry for an anchor position, unleashes arias of manipulative babble--but most of the movie is just baffling. The filmmakers seem to think they're sending a heartwarming message about embracing yourself, no matter how out of the mainstream you may be. Unfortunately, all of the "quirky" people come across as brain-damaged because they're not really people, they're emblems of "uniqueness". Mary is meant to be endearingly eccentric, yet her social ineptness verges on schizophrenia or severe autism. At every turn, All About Steve
unintentionally reminds the viewer that someone wrote this, that someone thought this bit of behavior or this turn of phrase would somehow make us like this character or find them charming. Unfortunately, that someone was very, very off the mark. The result--seeing the bald intentions under the failed result--is a jarring yet oddly compelling experience. Also featuring DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow) and Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Down). --Bret Fetzer
Sandra Bullock stars in this screwball comedy as Mary Horowitz, a brilliant but reclusive and somewhat eccentric crossword puzzle writer for a local newspaper. In an attempt to propel their socially inept daughter into the outside world and the realm of men, marriage and children, Mary's parents (Howard Hesseman and Beth Grant) set her up with their friend's son, TV cameraman Steve (Bradley Cooper). Unfortunately Mary takes to Steve a little too enthusiastically, traipsing the length and breadth of the country in hot pursuit of him and his meddling colleague Hartman (Thomas Haden Church) as they are sent to various locations by the cable station they work for. Will Mary's passion ever be reciprocated, or is she just making a fool of herself?