Mary Horowitz is a cruciverbalist -- a crossword puzzle constructor. Her brain spins at warp speed with an endless stream of arcane information. She can come up with the perfect word - and dozens with the same meaning - at a moment's notice, but "normal" behavior eludes her. When she is set up on a blind date with handsome cable-news...
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Mary Horowitz is a cruciverbalist -- a crossword puzzle constructor. Her brain spins at warp speed with an endless stream of arcane information. She can come up with the perfect word - and dozens with the same meaning - at a moment's notice, but "normal" behavior eludes her. When she is set up on a blind date with handsome cable-news cameraman Steve, Mary thinks the chemistry is undeniable -- that Steve is "the one." Steve, on the other hand, thinks Mary is crazy. Mary, who just knows she's found her soul mate, decides to do anything and go anywhere to be with him. She begins to pursue Steve relentlessly as he crisscrosses the country, covering breaking news stories. But when Mary becomes embroiled in the news story of the year, Steve and Hartman begin to see her differently. Hartman is plagued by guilt, knowing his game of one-upmanship with Steve has placed her squarely in harms way, while Steve is feeling his own pangs of remorse at his callous behavior. Despite the media storm surrounding her, Mary with her upbeat, unaffected manner brings together a small community of new friends. And all who encounter Mary will realize that sometimes the ones who don't fit in are the ones who really stand out.
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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
All About Steve centers on the antics of nutty Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock), a thirtysomething spinster who isn't like most women her age. A cruciverbalist (crossword puzzle writer) by trade, she possesses a brain crammed to the hilt with obscure facts, arcane trivia and SAT words, all of which she happily dispenses — at breakneck speed — on any unfortunate soul who happens to stumble into a conversation with her. And while such a quality may prove useful in her professional life, it's terrible for her romantic one. Which is why she lives alone with her parents and her closest confidante is a hamster.
Mary's fortunes abruptly change — in her mind, at least — when she's set up on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper), a charming, surprisingly handsome cable-news cameraman to whom she feels an immediate, intense attraction. So intense, in fact, that she dedicates an entire crossword puzzle to him, confusing readers and angering her boss, who immediately fires her. (Apparently, there are no copy editors — or editors of any kind, for that matter — at the newspaper where Mary works.)
Mary deliberately misinterprets her dismissal as a sign that she is meant to be with Steve, who just recently left town on assignment. Determined to follow her "destiny," she packs her bags and embarks on a road trip, pursuing her would-be soulmate as he travels to various towns to cover breaking news stories. Understandably freaked-out by the antics of his oddball stalker, Steve does his best to give Mary the heave-ho, to little avail.
Bullock has amped up the wackiness factor in the latter half of her career, riding the "clumsy hot chick" routine to box office success in the blockbuster comedies Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous. In All About Steve, Bullock effectively carries the film, for what it's worth, as the neurotic, hyperactive Mary.
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Spider-Man 3) issues a fine performance in a supporting role as a comically self-absorbed, chronically insecure TV newsman.
Methinks there's supposed to be a point in All About Steve when Mary's neurotic mannerisms and creepy stalker antics transition from irritating and strange to charming and quirky — making her a sort of cougar Napoleon Dynamite — but that transition never really occurs. Like Steve, we just want Mary to go away. Forever.
Normally the film's core message about being true to yourself is a virtuous one, but when "yourself" is quite literally THE MOST ANNOYING PERSON IN THE WORLD, the exact opposite is true. My greatest fear regarding All About Steve is that dozens of pushy, delusional people will see it and feel validated in their behavior.
Sandra Bullock's face is virtually unrecognizable from her Speed days.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1/2 star.
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