From writer Kim Barker (the risible LICENSE TO WED) and debutant director Phil Traill comes a romantic-comedy so unfunny, uncharming and just plain irritating it's hard to believe it stars Miss Apple Pie herself, Sandra Bullock. I could never have imagined that Sandra Bullock, typically the best thing about the movies she chooses to make, would pick such a completely sans-merit script, and be so utterly charmless within it. This is the woman who, after all, won a Razzie for her role in this film and ACTUALLY TURNED UP, charming the pants of the audience in the process. This woman can work with rom-com dreck. But I guess even the luckiest actress occasionally hits a pot-hole.
So here's the deal. Sandra Bullock plays a geeky cross-word competition creator called Mary. She lives at home with her parents, is a complete social misfit and may in fact have a behavioural disorder. Her parents set her up on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper) and she thinks he's so hot she practically jumps him in the back of his car and then stalks him around America while he covers stories as a cameraman for CNN. Steve's vain front-man, Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church) thinks it will be great fun to egg Mary on, and before we know it she's fallen into a deep well in pursuit of her "lover" and becomes the centre of the story herself. Steve feels guilty about how the press are depicting her as a dweeb and decides to give her a break, just as she realises she needs to get some frikkin perspective.
There is no chemistry between Steve and Mary. How can there be? Mary isn't so much a frog waiting to be kissed into a princess but just deeply deeply odd and unappealing. It's also basically hypocritical for the movie to spend an hour mocking Mary for being weird and then to ask us to be understanding. She doesn't need a boyfriend so much as therapy. This is an enormously mis-judged "comedy".
ALL ABOUT STEVE opened in Autumn/Winter 2009. It is available on DVD and on iTunes.