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STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
MSRP: $29.99
RATED: PG-13
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Feature commentary
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Bradley Cooper and Ken Jeong’s A Capella Duet
  • Hollywood Dish with Mena Micheletti
  • All About All About Steve
  • Crew Snapshots to Mary’s Rap
  • FOX Movie Channel presents Life After Film School with Phil Traill
  • Trailers

The Pitch

Are you worried that you’ve crossed the thin line between “quirky” and “mentally ill”? Do you need a romantic comedy to affirm that you’re ok just the way you are? Here. You’re welcome.

The Humans

Director/ Writer: Phil Traill, Kim Barker
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong, DJ Qualls

The Nutshell

Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) is a Manic Pixie Rain-Woman of indeterminate age working for her local newspaper creating crossword puzzles. People consider her strange because she never stops talking and absorbs information like a cybernetic sponge. She knows a lot of facts, but seems to have no clue how to interact with people. She goes on a blind date her parents set up with Steve, an apparently dreamy TV news cameraman. He’s so sexy that Mary ATTACKS him as soon as they get in his van. As soon as shirts come off and pants are undone, she starts blathering on about how compatible they are. Steve, understandably concerned about her mental health, makes a lame excuse and politely calls the date off pre-coitus. (The movie tries to paint Steve as kind of a jerk for ditching her, which I think is unfair. Maybe he just doesn’t want the morning after guilt that comes from taking advantageous of the emotionally impaired?)

Nice try Steve, but it’s too late for you. She’s already in love, and she WILL follow you wherever you may go. And everyone learns a valuable lesson before getting exactly what they wanted.


“Man, I really hope there was nothing wrong with Mary’s latest crossword puzzle I sent to print without giving it the briefest of glances.”


The Lowdown
               

When watching a movie I have a certain point-of-no-return with main characters. It’s the thin line between “charmingly incompetent” or “contemptibly stupid.” If that line gets crossed, then the movie has lost me completely. Two movies that crossed this line and earned my hatred are Babel and The Science of Sleep, but they at least offered some technical skill or artistry that I could appreciate while hating the characters. All About Steve has nothing else to offer, and leaves me free to revel in my hatred without distraction.

This is how the story goes. After Mary’s brief encounter with a man she hardly knows, the titular Steve, she goes completely off the rails and decides it’s appropriate to craft an entire crossword puzzle around Steve, full of clues like “Steve’s eye color, Steve’s ambitions, Steve’s favorite story” (the latter of which she couldn’t have known based on their short conversation, which means she’s just imagining what his favorite story MIGHT be. Extra creepy). Much to her surprise, this gets her fired. 

Instead of being an adult and going on with her life, Mary decides that getting fired is a sign that she is meant to be with Steve. She starts to stalk him by watching the local news and high-tailing it to wherever the story is, hoping to run into him. Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church) is the on camera personality on Steve’s “in-the-field” news team. After his first encounter with Mary, where she simply uses her fucking eyes to spot a person of interest leaving the scene, Hartman is convinced that by keeping Mary around his reporting will somehow improve and he’ll be made an anchorman. So much to Steve’s chagrin, Hartman encourages Mary in her relentless and delusional stalking. This continues until an out-of-nowhere life or death crisis creates some ham-fisted drama.

Let’s remember that her twelve year-old style crush destroyed her ability to perform her job.                       


“Mary, honey? Is everything alright? Are you making your Mighty Morphing Power Rangers fanfilms again?”

If you don’t have brilliant improvisational comedians starring in your movie, then the key to any good comedy is the script, and I don’t mean the jokes. No amount of jokey punch-up or script polish could have saved Kim Barker’s screenplay. The seeds found in the rotten core of this compost-ready apple are the plot-slaves (aka, characters). Every decision they make is simply to get the story from one contrived point to another. It almost feels like they’re being reluctantly influenced by angels or Cylons to make absurd, retarded decisions in order to fulfill the screenwriter’s master plan. Why does the paper publish Mary’s creepy crossword puzzle without any sort of review? Why does Hartman think keeping an imbalanced idiot-savant around is going to help his career? 

What’s even more insulting than the absurdity of the characters is the intended audience reaction. All of the “comedy” comes at Mary’s expense, asking us to laugh at how emotionally and socially debilitated she is, before pulling a 180 for the manufactured crisis at the end wherein she is put in mortal danger. This is when the moral shows up from out of the writer’s ass, telling us that it’s ok to be different, and that Mary doesn’t want to be normal anyway. Steve even tells her “Don’t ever change.” Really, Mary Horowitz? Even though your eccentricity destroyed your job and almost got you killed? You don’t feel the need to change or grow up AT ALL?

Let’s remember that her twelve year-old style crush destroyed her ability to perform her job.

She obviously can’t take care of herself without a little help, and the movie never addresses if she has a real, serious mental condition or not. Without a diagnosed disorder, she’s no better than the emotionally stunted fanboy man-children who are praying for a Thundercats trilogy. If I knew Mary and cared about her, I would WANT her to change.

I have no idea who this movie is supposed to appeal to. Apparently the filmmakers thought there were people out there who would identify with this helpless, 30-something child. I really hope they were wrong.


DJ Qualls was unfamiliar with the latest in on-set Hollywood slang, such as “Kill her before she turns”. Boy, was his face red!

The Package

The commentary features the main actors plus writer Kim Barker and director Phil Traill. The track is mainly Bullock, Barker, and Traill trying to talk about making the movie while Church, Cooper and Jeong goof around and try to disupt all talk about the film. Writer Kim Barker admits that her inspiration came in part from Michael Jackson’s legal trouble and his fans’ unwavering support. I believe it.

All About All About Steve is your basic 10 minute behind-the-scenes circle jerk. Life After Film School is an interview show presented by Fox Movie Channel where film students have a chat with people in the industry, people like director of All About Steve Phil Traill.  Hollywood Dish is a stranger experience, a satire of behind the scenes entertainment shows hosted by the fictional Mena Micheletti (Reno 911!‘s Keri Kinney).

There are also some deleted and alternate scenes that feature a funny profanity-laden rant from Jeong’s character that goes on forever (with every profanity curiously bleeped out, including such basics as “bitch” and “balls”).  Also a strange (and enjoyable) a capella song performance from Jeong and Cooper in front of a greenscreen clip show from the movie.  The extras are rounded out by trailers and a slide show of crew snapshotsof the filming crew, backed by a horrendous, uncredited rap song about the main character.


Ken Jeong takes a break from filming and practices what he called The Ironside Solution.

 

1 out of 10