Actually, it’s “All About” Bullock
“All About Steve,” the new comedy starring Sandra Bullock, will likely end up on more than a few critics’ “Worst of the Year” lists. Many consider it the likeable actress’ worst movie ever. That’s saying a lot, considering her last few movies were pretty dreadful: the commercially successful “The Proposal,” the modestly popular “Premonition,” and “The Lake House.” It’s not a stretch to say Ms. Bullock’s image as America’s Sweetheart has been tarnished by some questionable professional choices.
The rest of this review will now be spent convincing you to see “All About Steve” anyway.
Bullock’s latest is silly, contrived, and works way too hard for the few genuine laughs it earns. But Bullock is smashingly likeable despite a script that gives her a character so annoying we rarely care what happens to her. Few actresses could pull off that feat.
Bullock’s Mary Magdalene Horowitz is a crossword puzzle expert and writes for the Sacramento Bee. Her best friend is apparently her hamster, to whom she talks like a teenager blessed with an above average vocabulary. In fact, that’s one of Mary’s major problems: she’s an incessant gabfest. So although she literally jumps on her blind date Steve (Bradley Cooper of “The Hangover”) within five minutes of meeting him, he’s immediately repulsed. This despite her prominent push-up bra and kooky calf-high red boots, proving again even horny hunks can be quickly done in by a motor-mouth.
When she’s fired for letting her fixation for Steve affect her work, Mary takes it as a sign to stalk him wherever his news channel camera job takes him. Little of this makes sense except to set up the road trip (of sorts) comedy junket where Mary can make a fool of herself trying to win over Steve: at a wild west tourist attraction, a hospital being picketed, a midwestern tornado, and ultimately to an abandoned mine which has swallowed a group of deaf children. Some of Mary’s word nerd foreign language phrases and dictionary definitions do little but annoy. But others, delivered convincingly with Bullock’s trademark affability, are quite cute and will generate plenty of laughs from an undemanding audience.
As for the star casting her 45-year-old self (Bullock also produced) opposite a 10-years younger lead… Well, Bullock is still adorable and it’s not any more incredulous than the countless male stars who play the husband/boyfriend/lover of women 20 or even 30 years their junior. (See Steve Martin, Harrison Ford, Dennis Quaid, Michael Douglas, et al..) Power to the pre-menopausal!
A supporting turn by gifted Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways,” “Smart People”) is refreshing and makes up for a lot of the script’s nonsensical humor.
If the mutiplexes in this country were filled with heady, witty romantic comedies, then “All About Steve” would pale by comparison. But since this isn’t the case, Sandra Bullock fans can turn off their brain and let this quirky, unpredictable comedy work its lowbrow magic.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content including innuendo.
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