Making the Grades
Desperate times may call for desperate measures but humor should never feel as desperate as it does in All About Steve. Granted Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock), an overly verbose crossword creator for the Sacramento Herald, is a little eager to find the perfect guy. But her penchant for drowning people with a verbal downpour every time she is around them makes it difficult to acquire any long-term friends, let alone someone to marry.
So she is understandably a little nervous about the blind date her dad (Howard Hesseman) and mom (Beth Grant) arrange for her and pleasantly surprised when she gets a glimpse of Steve (Bradley Cooper). She is so impressed with the television news cameraman that she hurries back upstairs to change into something a little more slinky and revealing. And before the couple has even pulled away from the curb of her parents’ home where she lives, Mary is stripping off her skimpy attire and disrobing Steve in hopes of getting some sexual gratification.
Yet throwing herself on her unsuspecting date isn’t the only socially awkward attribute this girl has. For a woman who makes her living with words and who is constantly quoting quips, she clearly doesn’t understand the phrase "Talk is cheap." Consequently, when Steve says he’d like to have her on the road with him, she totally misses the underlying message and mistakenly believes him. After losing her job, she sees no reason to stay in town and heads off to catch up with him and the rest of his news crew after they leave town.
In the truest sense of the word, Mary probably isn’t stalking, but it comes awfully close to it. Egged on by the on air personality, Hugh Hartman (Thomas Haden Church), who works with Steve, this ditzy puzzle maker follows the communication’s van from one disaster to another while trying anxiously to win Steve’s heart.
Unfortunately the screenplay seems as frantic to get a laugh as the cruciverbalist is to find love. Riddled with plot holes as big as a mineshaft, this flawed road trip movie parades out a huge cast of incompetent characters including emergency personnel who stand around helplessly during a crisis, a stern school teacher who barely engages her students and a long haul truck driver who Mary repeatedly begs not to take advantage of her. The result is an overabundance of crude sexual innuendo, profanities and a pitiful attempt to establish any sense of compassion for the on-screen personalities or their circumstances.
Trying to salvage a suitable ending with a sentimental platitude or two, All About Steve is a loquacious, wordy, garrulous script that talks fast in a desperate attempt to appear comical, but is so unfunny it will likely leave viewers feeling speechless.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about All About Steve.
How are media personalities portrayed in this film? What is Hugh’s justification for his comments to Mary? How do the competing stations interact with one another?
Do the protestors in this film appear to base their opposition on any intelligent arguments or are they just looking for any cause to contend?
What actions or activities do you consider to be normal behavior?