Sandra Bullock in 'All About Steve': When Good Actors Make Bad Choices

There’s no need to linger over the awfulness of All About Steve my review was short but to the point. (The movie was shot in 2007, before Bradley Cooper became famous as That Cute Guy from The Hangover; you know the title wasn’t being kept on the shelf just so it could age like a fine wine.) But it’s worth talking a bit about what might have led Sandra Bullock — who not only stars, but also produced the misbegotten comedy — to have miscalculated so badly about what kind of project best suits her abundant strengths.

I’d feel more comfortable talking about the popular Bullock brand if it didn’t suggest she was a Chiquita banana or a Kleenex tissue. But even without a logo or a copyright, a “Sandy Bullock woman” in a “Sandy Bullock movie” is easily identifiable to her many fans: She may start out looking a little drab (While You Were Sleeping), or rough around the edges (Miss Congeniality) or uptight (The Proposal). But when she cleans up, her eyes sparkle and she dares you not to love her.

And therein lies a problem — especially for female stars, and especially for female stars whose brand characteristic is youthful cuteness: Getting older is a bitch. I mean, it shouldn’t be a bitch, and it doesn’t have to be. But I can understand how it might scare the red go-go boots off an actress who has read the box office reports about  audiences who love her best when she sticks to her giggle. I suspect Drew Barrymore can identify; certainly Meg Ryan knows what I mean. The irony is, our Miss Congeniality has it in her to be even more lovable, not to mention expand her range from the comic to the serious, in her ripe 40s and beyond. (You know where she was great, grown-up, and didn’t rely on laughs at all? Crash.)

My theory is that All About Steve was the rom-com Sandy Bullock chose when she panicked, and her charming, old-fashioned rom-com The Proposal was the project she took with a clearer head about her talents.

What’s your advice for this sunniest of girl-next-door stars?

Comments (40 total) Add your comment
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  • Michele

    I don’t even bother seeing her movies. These cheasy, unorginal, so-called “romantic comedies” are usually all she does anymore. While I do think Crash was overrated I do agree that she was much stronger and more memorable in that film opposed to films like All About Steve, The Proposal, blah blah bla. And what is Thomas Haden Church doing in this film? I didn’t see it and don’t plan to, but was he as miscast as I’m thinking he is? I know plenty of people like these kinds of movies, but maybe it’s the cynic in me that tells me to avoid these flimsy romantic comedies. I think your observations about Sandra are pretty accurate, in a nutshell. Will she ever turn it around? If her resume says anything, it’s that she’s destined to continue down this path. The majority of her films are where the romantic comedy genre goes to die.

    • whatevs

      I don’t think it’s cynical at all to avoid these romcoms. This genre is absolute crap and I can’t believe that people pay $10 over and over again to watch the same movie with different actors.

      • Snsetblaze

        I totally agree. That said, there is an occasional gem. I haven’t seen it but that 500 Days of Summer sounded like it would be different. In a way, it is – since the cast is not the same old, same old rom com actors and actresses.

  • T

    I love Sandra Bullock and in my book she can do no wrong, though I admit I never saw Speed 2, but even she admits that was a mistake. This film by no means was a stroke of genius, but I still liked it. Honestly, it was best when Sandra was on screen, and when it was just THC and Bradley Cooper, it was kinda stupid, and boring. That’s because while B.C.’s charater was completely unsympathetic, it’s easy to like Sandra Bullock, even when she’s annoying and weird, but B.C.’s charater just came off as a jerk. I don’t think she took this movie in a panic, but sometimes like any projects they start out with a solid idea, but the execution is a little shaky.

  • bruno

    dear sandra bullock,
    don’t ever do that to your hair again.

  • bruno

    remember when julia roberts did the mexican with brad pitt and no one liked her charcater because she was kind of a bitch and actually closer to her true to life self (but whatever). this movie is like that…only with sandra bullock…and i LIKE sandra bullock.

  • Trent

    Bullock is destined for tv where Anniston BELONGS and needs to STAY. Real actresses act well into their 40’s. My guess is we won’t see Tilda Swinton, Kate Blanchett, or Hillary Swank face this. Remember rom-com queen Juila Roberts anyone? Take a small but memnorable role in a Tarantino film! Take a starring role in a horror film, play the love interest of a male lead in a Michael Mann film! But for God’s Sake, please, please stop making these super-predictable ‘romantic comedies???’. Please!

    • Snsetblaze

      I like your advice except the Michael Mann part. Instead, do an good indie or foreign film role or play an unsympathetic female character (aka Charlize Theron).

  • K

    This movie is not good, but not the travesty you guys are making it out to be. At least she has The Blind Side coming out which looks great. I agree that she is fantastic in dramatic roles (Crash, Infamous) and smart romantic comedies. She probably need a better agent…if you look at her filmograhy she has some fab movies on there, but mostly not very good ones.

  • Sally in Chicago

    Lisa, I totally agree. She’s a 40ish woman…start doing drama or dark comedy….but you know? she’s the producer, she’s the star, she’s getting paid double time….that’s why she’s making these movies.

    • Sally in Chicago

      To continue…K makes good point that her stint in Crash was a pivotal turn that she should have continued down that road….but she’s smart enough to know she can’t compete with Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep…who get the better scripts…so she stays with what’s familiar…but she should try dark comedy.

  • anonymous

    I would actually really LOVE to see her in a really great thriller. Murder with Numbers? Not so much. The Net? Awesome. She needs a role where she’s thought to be vulnerable and then she (and everyone else) figures out she’s a survivor. (ala Linda Hamilton in the first Terminator). THAT would be a movie I’d pay to see – twice.

  • Jay

    Well put. I still love Sandra Bullock and have faith that she’ll be around for years to come. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I can think of another actress who is so well loved, even when doing bad movie after bad movie. All I hear about when Bullock does a stinker (and she’s done many of them, let’s face it) her stock never seems to plummet. Rather, the attitude tends to be, “Bullock deserves better, maybe next time, Sandy.”

  • SeenIt

    I saw All About Steve, not my normal Genre, Last movie I saw was District 9. I have to say there are many funny scenes. It’s not a Documentary, You know that going in, I think poeple are being way to critical. It was a fun little movie!

  • Brandon

    this movie was not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Lisa, you are just plain wrong. Sandra Bullock is one of the best actresses of the last 20 years in my opinion and I absolutely love every movie she’s made, except for Forces of Nature, in which she was great but the ending sucked.

  • allison

    Yes, this movie was not her best but I don’t know why people are hating it so much. It was funny and cute. Sure the plot was kind of cooky but it was definitely worth seeing. And also I am i big Sandra Bullock fan and I belive she can do no wrong

  • kathy

    I go to movies to see certain actors. Sandra Bullock is one I would go and see no matter what. This was a different side of her but she still made me laugh. Gotta love the gal.

  • johnb

    Don’t worry. The trailer for The Blind Side was fantastic and The Proposal was made AFTER All About Steve. It looks to me that she is making some good choices and I think she has box office gold with The Blind Side coming in November. Everyone I know that has seen that trailer is talking about it already and is eager to see it! If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I am confident you will agree.

  • Dolly

    My advice to Ms. Bullock is to grow up. Unless it is a remake of Freaky Friday, there is nothing funny about a 40-year old woman acting twelve. It is just sad.

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