All About Steve

Sandra Bullock in All About Steve

In this refreshingly quirky comedy, Sandra Bullock is Mary Horowitz, a Sacramento crossword-puzzle writer who is geeky and hyperactive and generally too much to bear. When her parents fix her up with a handsome cable-news cameraman named Steve (Bradley Cooper), Mary pounces, but quickly scares him away with talk of "destiny." Undeterred, she begins following Steve and a washed-up reporter (Thomas Haden Church) as they head across America, covering ratings grabbers such as a baby with three legs and a mineshaft cave-in that has stranded a dozen hearing-impaired children. Writer Kim Barker (License to Wed) and first-time director Phil Traill aren't afraid of big jokes (deaf kids down a well), but they also pay attention to the small details of character. As if to suggest Mary finds solace in a nerd-friendlier time, her bedroom décor is strictly 1969-70, while her much-discussed go-go boots are a seeming nod to the goofy brainiac Barbra Streisand portrayed in 1970's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Although Bullock initially struggles with a character she's probably too old to play, she ultimately makes Mary funny and sympathetic without softening her innate weirdness. The actress also earns points for daring to coproduce a Hollywood comedy that isn't about a wedding.

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