You know those movies that think they’re too clever for their own good? It can be a real problem for a movie. It really decides whether it’s going to blow up at the box office or if it’s just plain going to bomb.
The only thing worse that a box office dud that’s universally panned is when you see the movie, just to see if it can really be as bad as critics are saying it is, and it turns out that it’s even worse.
That’s the lesson to be learned from the sandra Bullock comedy All About Steve. To call the movie a disaster of epic proportions really just doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of this movie. At the center is Mary (Sandra Bullock in a “funny” Fatal Attraction type role) who after Steve (Bradley Cooper with frosted tips, who’s supposed to be hot) leads her in, follows him cross-country in order to be with him.
It’s this kind of creepy, misguided humor that keeps the movie going for about 100 minutes, which is about 99 minutes too long (I’m a crossword fan so I liked the opening titles, but that’s about it). Somewhere along the way, Mary loses her charm whereas Steve never really had any to begin with. This is one of the main problems, at least for me. It’s impossible to see in Steve what Mary does mainly because he’s rude and shallow for the entire movie. As for Mary, she kind of functions like a female “quirkier” version of Rain Man.
As she continues on her cross-country journey in a feverish stalking frenzy, she just becomes pitiable. More so than that, even though I never cared for or about the character of Steve, it’s pretty easy to see that this woman is mentally unstable. I wouldn’t call her crazy or anything, but she’s unaware of boundaries, doesn’t know what not to say, and all these other social norms. While we’re supposed to believe that she’s a free spirit or whatever, those are characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m just saying that the way that the character is portrayed should be more concerning. One of the themes of the movie is “just be yourself” but if “yourself” is a person who drives cross-country to follow a man, it’s just a little disconcerting.
The most painful part about All About Steve is that it wants to make you laugh, but you’re never entirely sure why you’re supposed to laugh. Some of the humor is stupid, while some of it seems so mean-spirited. You’re never quite sure if you’re supposed to be laughing with Mary or at Mary. Some of the jokes made are at the character’s expense so it’s a little confusing.
In the end, All About Steve suffers because it doesn’t know what it is. It doesn’t know its characters nor does the audience really. Sure, we get that Mary’s wild and crazy or whatever, but we never get to know Steve or why he’s attractive (besides his looks) so it’s hard to fall in love with any of these characters. Then there’s the whole issue of Mary being just plain creepy. She never really becomes endearing but much like a yogurt left out in the hot sun, she spoils with age. Finally, the movie never really knows what it wants to be with its humor. You’re never entirely sure whether they’re going for the laughs or if it’s supposed to be a sentimental moment. All in all, All About Steve is all about nothing worth watching.