Blu-Ray Review: Worst Comedy of 2009 is ‘All About Steve’

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CHICAGO – Sandra Bullock may have had a spectacular 2009, headlining hits “The Proposal” and “The Blind Side” and being named Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, but she also reached the low point of her career (yes, lower than “Speed 2”) in the horrendous, awful, laugh-free “All About Steve,” a worthy candidate for the worst film of the year just passed and now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Blu-Ray Rating: 1.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.0/5.0

One of the reasons that I respond so vehemently to junk like “All About Steve” is that I can’t stand what I call hypocritical comedy: screenwriting that asks us to point and laugh at the abnormalities of a character only to give her a big hug at the end and teach us a lesson about embracing individuality. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t mock a character for being different (or, in this case, possibly mentally handicapped) and then manipulatively pull at our heartstrings at the end.

All About Steve was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 22nd, 2009.
All About Steve was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 22nd, 2009.
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

The character in this hypocritical comedy is Mary (Bullock), a crossword puzzle writer for a Sacramento newspaper who talks to a pet rodent named Carol, is mocked by her co-workers, and ridiculed by students as she’s advised to “be normal”. In an effort to do so, she goes on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper of “The Hangover”), a cameraman for a major news network. The tragically lonely Mary doesn’t even let Steve start the car before trying to rip his clothes off and the poor guy realizes that Mary may not be playing with a full deck and makes up an excuse about having to go on the road for his job.

All About Steve was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 22nd, 2009.
All About Steve was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 22nd, 2009.
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

Mary begins her stalker-ish pursuit of Steve by writing up a crossword for her paper in which every answer is Steve (which apparently gets published without a single pair of eyes looking at it for even one second), gets fired for doing so, and stalks her love across the country on a series of assignments with the boorish Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church). Almost as if the film is making fun of manipulative plot devices, the crew ends up on a Gulf Coast hurricane assignment, a story about a baby with a third leg, and the tale of hearing impaired children that fell down a well. I say “almost as if” because the script for “All About Steve” actually uses the last case to try and pull at the heartstrings in one of the most blatant cases of movie manipulation in years.

The concept behind “All About Steve” isn’t horrible and the cast is certainly talented but the execution of the concept in one of the worst screenplays ever put to film is what sinks the comedy. This movie only works if we find Mary likable, not if we find her creepy. The message doesn’t seem to be as much “it’s okay to be yourself” as it is “it’s okay to stalk somebody as long as no one gets hurt”. Mary struggles to communicate with anybody, pushing her “quirkiness” to extremes. It’s okay to be yourself. It’s also okay to get therapy.

Going from just bad to offensive in the final act, “All About Steve” is the kind of movie that takes real-life issues like social awkwardness and first plays it for uncomfortable comedy and then ridiculous manipulation. Don’t waste your time.

If you do get suckered into the world of “All About Steve” on Blu-ray, you’ll find a rather extensive selection of special features. It seems criminal that great, small films like “Bright Star” are being released on DVD-only and junk like “All About Steve” gets the extensive, special edition treatment but no one said the world of HD was fair.

Special features included on “All About Steve” are Commentary by writer Kim Barker, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong and director Phil Traill, “All About All About Steve,” “Take A Stab At Vocab!,” Gag Reel, “Crew Snapshots To Mary’s Rap,” “Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session,” and a digital copy of the film.

‘All About Steve’ is released by Fox Home Video and stars Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church, Ken Jeong, DJ Qualls, Keith David, Howard Hesseman, and Beth Grant. It was written by Kim Barker and directed by Phil Traill. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 22nd, 2009. content director Brian Tallerico

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