Sandra Bullock plays Mary in All About Steve, and unfortunately, it’s not of the There’s Something About variety. No, this is one of those movie characters the audience is supposed to connect with immediately from the opening frames, the quirky, red boot wearing crossword puzzle writer with no social skills.
Unfortunately for this Mary, Bullock plays her like an utter unlikable dolt. This woman is completely off base with reality, stalking a TV news cameraman named Steve (Bradley Cooper) after they are set up on a blind date.
It’s sort of impossible to put into words how completely awful All About Steve is. The movie is supposed to be carried by Bullock, but her goofiness isn’t funny. Her performance is unbelievable, and the character is so overplayed, it is little surprise that she has remained single all these years.
An audience does not immediately associate with a character because they are unique or different. There has to be some level of heart or meaning or even purpose behind them. All About Steve tries, desperately, to wring those out of the viewer during what is easily one of the worst endings in a 2009 “comedy.”
After stalking Steve across multiple states, surviving a tornado (!), and arriving at the latest breaking news site where a group of hearing impaired children have fallen into a collapsed mine (!!), Bullock herself falls in after the kids are rescued.
Sighs of relief from the audience ensue, but unfortunately, she survived the fall and the movie still has about 20-minutes to go. While in the mine, Mary discovers that the rescue team has left a child behind. This is an attempt to make Mary a hero while the film tries to satire the various news networks, but instead descends into a pit (no pun intended) of cartoonish clichés.
A crowd forms around the massive hole in the ground, all crying for Mary’s safety, completely missing the point that a child is also down there with her after they have been informed of this turn of events. Steve apparently has an epiphany, realizing his crazy, obsessed stalker is not so bad after all.
Note to normal people: If you need your potential mate to fall down a mine and conveniently rescue deaf children to realize they were right for you, chances are it would not have worked out anyway. At the very least, it signals the end of this disastrous comedy, and it means you never need to see those gaudy red boots again, or the oblivious character who wears them.
Color is the stand out of this generally superb AVC transfer from Fox. Bullock’s otherwise awful red boots glisten and shine with bright, saturated reds. Primaries are truly rich, bold, and bright. Flesh tones appear warm, although not distractingly so.
Sharpness is generally solid and consistent. Facial textures are maintained in close-ups, while mid-range shots tend to falter slightly. Long shots, especially one of the fair before the kids collapse into the mine, are stable. These are more notable for their color instead of their crisp definition.
Contrast is bright, and black levels are mixed nicely. The encode handles a light layer of grain without any noticeable artifacting.
For all of its ridiculousness, the tornado scene is the audio showcase for this DTS-HD effort. Winds whip freely through the surrounds, as does stray debris. A steady, low hum works the subwoofer adequately. Through this, the limited dialogue from Bullock and her friends is completely audible and clear.
The finale has a few moments as well, including low earth tremors and crane collapse. Prior to all of this nonsense, the mix has little to do. Some helicopters are heard tracking left to right during some news broadcasts, and the peppy soundtrack bleeds nicely into all five channels. General ambiance is flat.
A crowded commentary includes writer Kim Barker, director Phil Traill, and actors Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church, Ken Jeong, and Sandra Bullock. This commentary continues over a selection of six deleted scenes, a scene where Cooper and Jeong goof-off in front of a green screen, and inexplicably over a short series of outtakes. Do people need outtakes explained to them now?
Hollywood Dish is a dull, fake celebrity show that drags on for 17-minutes. All About All About Steve is the usual making-of, a 10-minute fluff piece. A selection stills of the crew is set to a rather awful rap, while Life After Film School is an episode of the TV series from Fox with Phil Traill with the purpose of promoting this dud. Trailers remain.