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'All About Steve,' nothing about funny

Sadly, "All About Steve" returns Sandra Bullock to harebrained comedy that falls flat more than it works.

Bullock bounced back into the spotlight nicely in June with "The Proposal," a funny, if goofy romantic comedy.  Now, however, "All About Steve" plunges the queen of romantic-comedy back into the much-too-silly romps not unlike the "Miss Congeniality" duds that derailed her career in 2000 and 2005.

I'd write this one off as simply an unfortunate script choice, except that the leading lady is a co-producer.  Surely director Phil Traill, who has worked mostly in TV, and screenwriter Kim Barker (irresponsible for "License to Wed"), deserve some blame.

It's Bullock out front on screen and on the marquee as ditsy-yet-intelligent crossword puzzle author Mary Horowitz, though.  So the Texas-based actress will likely take the hardest hit for this comic underachiever.

Mary Horowitz is a cruciverbalist.  Don't bother running to the dictionary.  That just means she constructs crossword puzzles.  The (fictional) Sacramento Herald newspaper publishes one a week, although Mary is pushing for daily exposure.

Living at home with her eccentric parents, Mary does nothing but work.  No, strike that.  Mary does two other things.  She wears fire-truck red go-go boots everywhere, and she babbles on so much with brainiac facts and figures that no one can stand to be around her.

When a cable news photographer named Steve (Bradley Cooper) shows up for a blind date, Mary pins him down and across in the back of his van before he can even get the engine started.

Mary, convinced Steve is The One, loses her job when she writes a crossword titled All About Steve that perplexes, then angers her regular readers.

Much of the rest of this dismally silly comedy involves Mary chasing "her man" cross-country:  to Arizona for a hostage situation, to Oklahoma City where a baby is born with three legs and, finally to a disaster scene where a group of deaf children has fallen into a sinkhole.

It's not an uninteresting character for Bullock.  But the hyper, but one-dimensional script gives her nowhere to go with her verbal encyclopedia babble.

Cooper, on screen recently in the hugely popular lowbrow comedy "The Hangover," can do nothing but play defense.  Bullock's in his face from one direction and Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways") is acting equally goofy.  Church, who could have read the script a little more carefully as well, hams it up as ego-driven cable news reporter Hartman Hughes.

Frankly, Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses.  She was great acting against comic-type in "Crash" (2004), and she's made me laugh for years in comedies like "Practical Magic," "Two Weeks Notice" and the aforementioned "Proposal."

"All About Steve" is just a waste of Bullock's talent.  And our time.


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