At times like this, it’s good to think positive. That’s what Sandra Bullock’s socially inept crossword puzzle “constructor” does in “All About Steve.”
Bullock can still weather big-screen close ups and, at 45, can still pass for 35.
But she can’t pass for 30. And she’s never been that good in dizzy, “out there” roles. (She might have learned that lesson with 1999’s in “Forces of Nature.” Apparently not.)
“All About Steve,” an unfunny, annoying, badly written, badly acted comic fiasco, may be the worst movie in Bullock’s career.
Mary Magdalene Horowitz is a lonely word-freak, a smart, pretty woman still living with her parents, fretting over the once-a-week crossword puzzle she writes for the local newspaper. She chatters incessantly, is awkward around guys and blurts out her desire for sex at the drop of a hint.
A blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper) has her trot out her sequined mini-skirt, her favorite red go-go boots and her get-lucky red bra.
Darned if in the middle of jumping Steve, 45 seconds into their date, he isn’t summoned to work. He’s a network TV news photographer and is more than happy to bolt.
But Mary whips up a crossword that’s all “Steve” clues. She reads the “signs” he has given her and sets out to be with him, because a relationship is like a crossword puzzle: “The worst thing you can do is leave it unfinished.”
The only laughs in this road accident of a road picture come through the dulcet tones of Steve’s on-air “talent,” reporter Hartman Hughes, played by the peerless Thomas Haden Church.
He’s sexist and mean enough to lead Mary on, just to anger Steve. He’s also vapid and pretentious, punctuating his reports – from hostage situations, protests, hurricanes or children trapped in a mine – with “Hartman Hughes, reporting from The Edge.”
It’s rare that one actually feels sorry for a gorgeous, rich movie star, but Bullock earns our pity here. Mary is a miscalculation in almost every way, and the movie around her is worse – unfunny cameos, good actors wasted, bad actors given face time for no apparent reason.
Fifteen years since “Speed” and Bullock still can’t see an accident like this coming?
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