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Oh, Sandy, Sandy, Sandy B., what’s happened to you?  After a meteoric rise in the Hollywood stratosphere with blockbusters like Speed and While you Were Sleeping, Sandra Bullock’s career has been stacked with peaks and valley to make the Appalachians jealous. Whether in questionable echoes of her romantic successes like Two if By Sea, Forces of Nature and 28 Days, or in the occasional “serious” film like Crash or Infamous Bullock was so well-liked that her choices fortunate and otherwise didn’t seem to tarnish her America’s Sweetheart image.  Now I must wonder if perhaps one can rest a little too long on one’s laurels as Bullock seems to be doing in her latest, the comedy disaster, All About Steve.

A Be Yourself message about someone who really should be somebody else. Mary Magdalene Horowitz - she’s Jewish and Catholic, can’t you feel the level of high wit already? – is clearly a disturbed individual.  She’s a crossword puzzle creator who’s encyclopedic attention to the minute details of every single fact and oddity this world has to offer serves her well in her job, but almost nowhere else in life.  Her blind date with dreamboat Steve, the guy from the title, is proof of the social ineptitude that’s kept the cruciverbalist dateless and without a social life.  Mary and Steve don’t even make it out of Steve’s truck when she literally jumps his bones minutes after their introduction, making her seem at first to Steve like the best date ever.  It’s only after a few clothes come off that Mary opens her mouth to speak … and speak … and speak.  Her endless mile-a-minute nattering about anything and everything trivial shows her for the freakshow that she is and quite rightly Steve mutters some excuse and pleasantries and runs in the other direction.  Instead of seeing it for the brush-off it is, Mary focuses on their grope session as the promise of ever after and dedicates an entire crossword to the fella she’s known about 10 minutes, resulting her being fired from her vocation and seriously freaking out Steve.  Poor guy, little does he know it’s only the beginning.  Taking extremely literally a meaningless nicety said in passing as he was running toward the door, Mary, now having lost her job due to her burgeoning obsession feeds it more by following Steve and his news crew across the country.  She manages to turn up in all the most unlikely places and because she’s so special ends up becoming news herself.

Egad, was this horrible.  I can’t believe Sandra Bullock signed up to play this character.  I’m all for films spotlighting individuality and the whole just be yourself doctrine, but not when the person we’re talking about is obviously in need of psychiatric help.  In Mary, Sandra Bullock gives way too much life to one of the most grating, obnoxious roles I’ve seen this year.  Mary’s teeth-grinding, irritating personality is a serious misfire at making a “quirky” romantic character that audiences are supposed to root for.  Not here, kids.  Mary’s ceaseless and wholly uninteresting chatter runs throughout the film and makes the ears bleed.  This is a character wholly without charm other than the fact that Bullock, is playing her and frankly that isn’t enough to save this movie, not by a longshot.  The attempts to make Mary seem merely eccentric are laughable, her omnipresent red vinyl go-go boots, which the audience is given the impression she sleeps in are there simply because it make her toes, “feel like they’re on a camping trip.”  That’s deep.  Her tiresome and constant fits of excitement that less resemble a free spirit expressing herself than a kindergartner in desperate need of a bathroom are so not cute and repeated over and over again throughout the movie.  Yet, predictably, all around Mary find her absolutely enchanting and her exasperating behaviour both witty and wise.  The only one to see sense in the entire film is Steve, who had the sense to run at the first sign of Mary’s twitchiness, and of course by film’s end he’s made to look like the bad guy.  Lo and behold, Mary’s so wonderful that even Steve sees the error of his ways when he realises that Mary really is a special person and not the bats-in-the-belfry nutjob that both he and the audience has had to endure for ninety-eight wrenching minutes. 

All About Steve is one of the most painful moviegoing experiences I've suffered this year.  Shame on you, Sandra Bullock, you know better than this.

 

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

September 3rd, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos

(Courtesy of  20th Century Fox Films)

 

 

 

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