All About Steve

  • Directors: Phil Traill
  • Producers: Sandra Bullock, Mary McLaglen
  • Writers: Kim Barker
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church

The movie starts with a terminally cheerful, latex-cherry-boot-wearing Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) walking through Sacramento on her way to work to drop off her weekly crossword for the local city newspaper. She’s a cruciverbalist (a creator of crossword puzzles) and she’s very proud of her work, peeking over people’s shoulders as they try to figure out her clues. It becomes obvious very quickly, however, that Mary is not like other people, and all she has is her work. All around her, her coworkers talk about going out and having fun, and another coworker announces his engagement. None of this fazes Mary, who confronts her boss with her fantastic idea to include a DAILY crossword puzzle in the newspaper. Her boss, concerned that Mary is all work and no play, encourages her to start enjoying life. “Try enjoying being normal,” he says. She writes this down on her folder. “Be more normal.” She then tells her boss that she has a blind date that night, set up by her parents, that she’d planned on canceling. Now she isn’t so sure she should cancel it.

She then goes to a school career day, where her carefully dramatized speech about the importance of cruciverbalism is ambushed by the children, who ask her how she pays her rent on one crossword puzzle a week. She admits that she lives temporarily with her parents while her apartment is being fumigated (but we get the impression that apartment was fumigated months, maybe even years ago). The children laugh. They shout at her saying, “You don’t have a husband, do you? Not even a boyfriend!” Mary, clearly hurt, keeps on her smile but feels demoralized. She goes home, where her parents ask her how her day went. She lies, and says she needs to get ready for her date. They are thrilled to hear that she’s not canceling it.

Then she races into the arms of her friends and is lifted on to their arms. Her last line is, “Why should you have to change to be normal? All you have to do is find someone who’s as normal as you are.”