Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shitty Movie Review - "All About Steve"

I had heard a couple of extremely scathing reviews for "All About Steve" when it first came out, and I made a note at the time that I would have to see it. Several months later Sandra Bullock won the coveted Razzie for her portrayal of Mary Horowitz in the film, and I still had not seen it. A couple of months ago I had started to watch it, but paused ten minutes in because I couldn't pay attention while cooking. Sadly I lost my spot in the movie and wasn't able to watch it then. But today, today I finally had the chance to watch it, and was not disappointed.

First off, I don't feel that Sandra Bullock was truly deserving of her Razzie for this movie. Then again I don't feel she was truly deserving of her Oscar either. She puts on a brave performance as Mary Horowitz, a red-booted, thirty-something-year-old crossword puzzle writer afflicted with Asperger syndrome. Actually, the movie never explicitly states that she has Asperger syndrome, but many of the signs are there: she is physically clumsy, verbally compulsive, and socially maladjusted. And she nails this character, she owns it. Does that make her deserving of a Razzie? I don't think so. But before you start thinking this is a good movie, it's not. After all, I wouldn't be writing about it if it was.

Aside from Miss Bullock, there's a bevy of good and not so good actors in the movie. Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church, and Ken Jeong play major roles in the movie, along with Keith David, D.J. Qualls, and Katy Mixon. Charlene Yi, Lucy Davis ("The Office," BBC version), and Geraldo Rivera even have cameos. It makes one wonder what favors these actors owed Sandra Bullock, who was also a producer on the film. While Thomas Haden Church offers a strong performance as the vapid, image-consumed newsman Hartman Hughes, D.J. Qualls is sadly underused, unable to show the acting range that has made him famous (i.e. crying on command). Bradley Cooper is pretty much there as a plot device, while Ken Jeong plays yet another version of himself.

The paper-thin story is about a very socially awkward woman who finds herself stalking her dream man in hopes of achieving some normalcy, but in the process makes real friends and finds that she doesn't really need her dream man to be normal. But what it's really about is social and mental disorders and how a social group can redefine you. Also, it's a satire on news media and news networks. A weak satire, but a satire nonetheless. The news is made out to be superficial, hype machines that really lack human emotion in comparison to Mary, a person who seemingly lacks human characteristics but it's all right because she has friends.

So here's the real question: what's with all the bronzer in this film? It's like a movie starring Oompa Loompas. Just looking at the poster makes you wonder what black-haired, jaundice-colored Ken Jeong is doing there. And if that isn't enough, why not tone down the exposure of the film. Was the director trying to make a shitty version of "Vidas Secas?" (Yeah, obscure reference, but if you get it you're a real film nerd.) If I had to describe the tone of the film, I would have to say it was orange.

I'd have to admit I'm a little bit torn over "All About Steve." Is it a bad movie? Yes. Is it a horrible movie? Yes. Is it a good movie? Hell no. Is it the worst movie of the year? No. Would I watch it again? Yes. It's definitely a shitty movie, yet it still doesn't feel nearly as bad as all the critics made it out to be. In some ways it feels more honest than "The Blind Side," or more entertaining than "The Proposal." Either way I can solidly recommend this movie, and suggest that you watch it along with those other two acclaimed 2009 Sandra Bullock movies and make your own judgments.

My shitty movie rating: 8 out of 10. Not Razzie bad, but good bad.

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