All About Steve

 
(i)

 

Sandra Bullock plays a stalker in unappealing romcom.
  • Review Date: August 27, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the movie's "stalking" theme is obviously negative, the movie's resolution makes it clear that if you have to stalk someone you love, they don't really love you. The fact that Steve is less interested in Mary after discovering how "book smart" she is also sends an iffy message.

Positive role models

Ultimately, Mary realizes that she shouldn't have to change who she is for a man (she doesn't dumb down her behavior or change to be less quirky), but none of the characters is really a role model. Mary is a workaholic who transforms into an unprofessional, obsessed stalker. Steve is only too happy to sleep with a woman he hasn't said two words (until she proves herself too "crazy smart," that is). The news reporters are only interested in ratings and beating their colleagues to juicy stories. Mary's brand-new friends are sweet, but the woman in particular seems ignorant.

Violence

A group of schoolchildren falls into a hidden mineshaft; later, a couple of main characters fall in, too. A tornado lifts up a car that a few characters just ran away from, and there are a few funny pratfalls by Mary and Steve.

Sex

Mary basically attacks Steve during their first date. She and Steve are shown shirtless (she's wearing a bra) and make overt sexual references/gestures while making out as they're lying down in the backseat of a car. Although it's technically not a sex scene, the foreplay includes a few verbally explicit moments. Aside from that one scene, there are many conversations about romantic relationships and sexual comments and innuendo.

Language

Language includes "s--t," "a--hole," and "p---y," as well as "crap," "dumbass," "Christ!" and tamer words like "damn," "hell," etc.

Consumerism

Surprisingly few product placements, but there are a couple, including Twinkies.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink beer with meals in a couple of quick scenes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this offbeat comedy includes some sexual content (Sandra Bullock strips down to her bra, and Bradley Cooper is shirtless in the film's one love scene), as well as humorous but continuous references to sex, dating, and unrequited, obsessive infatuation (i.e. stalking). Language includes frequent use of words like "s--t" and "a--hole," and there's a brief glimpse of adults drinking beer with meals. There's a little bit of mild peril when characters get stuck in potentially dangerous situations, as well as a few cartoonish pratfalls.

What's the story?

Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) is a know-it-all crossword-puzzle editor at a small Sacramento newspaper. Temporarily living with her parents (Howard Hesseman and Beth Grant), Mary agrees to go a on a blind date they've set up with Steve (Bradley Cooper), a cameraman for a cable news channel. Mary immediately realizes that Steve is a catch and aggressively pounces on him, only to turn him off when she won't stop talking. After losing her job for making the weekly crossword all about her new crush, she decides to stalk him as he tracks down news stories with cocky on-air reporter Hartman (Thomas Haden Church).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Without denying the considerable comic talent of Bullock and Cooper (for proof, see their far better comedies The Proposal and The Hangover), this film is neither funny nor romantic. Instead of seeming nerdy cute like so many male protagonists in romantic comedies, Mary just seems stunted and desperate. It's disingenuous to believe that a walking encyclopedia who loves words so much would be so shallow. One meaningless tussle in the back of a car does not a romance make.

Bullock, so charming even in her lesser films, can't save this nearly unwatchable mess. Cooper does his best acting either put-upon or crazed, and Church earns the movie an extra star for actually eliciting a few laughs. His ambitious, arrogant reporter is a caricature, sure, but he's a welcome break from the train wreck that is Mary and Steve.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about obsessive relationships. Is Mary a stalker? Do you think that it's OK for the movie to find humor in that situation? What would be the consequences in real life?

  • How would the movie change if the main characters' genders were reversed? Would it be just as funny, or would it seem scary if a man was doing the stalking?

  • Does the movie send a negative message to "book smart" young women, or is it a positive one?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 4, 2009
DVD release date:December 22, 2009
Cast:Bradley Cooper, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church
Director:Phil Traill
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Comedy
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content including innuendos.

This review of All About Steve was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous February 28, 2014
 

Great Ending

Unusual character for Sandra Bullock. Slow start, but by the end the message is clear, you don't need a man to complete you. Some really thought-provoking characters.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byZaphrodite July 13, 2010
 

Depends....

They do give some iffy messages like cussing is sometimes okay.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 16 years old Written byLittleMissPriss January 29, 2010
 

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