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The West Wing
After Mary Horowitz (Bullock) has one date with a CNN cameraman (Cooper), the brilliant crossword-puzzle constructor decides the hunk is her true love. While she alienates him by trailing him all over the country, she falls in with a crew of misfits who appreciate her eccentric nature.
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I was kind of surprised to see that The Hangover's Bradley Cooper got third billing in a film in which his character has the title role.
But this is not really a film about Steve, not all about him anyhow.
It's really about Mary Horowitz, crossword puzzle creator extraordinaire, talkaholic, and owner of a really wild pair of red boots.
Steve is a bit of a mess, but it's a happy, sweet one. Mary is obsessed with trivia and crosswords, and talks way, way too much. She also believes Steve when he tells her he wishes she could come along with him while he shoots film for a cable news show, not realizing in her own honesty and slight naivety that people, especially men, don't always say what they mean.
Church gets second billing under Bullock as the narcissistic wannabe anchorman Hartman Hughes, Steve's subject and Mary's biggest fan. He's not encouraging her to follow Steve because he likes her or thinks they'd be great together, though, but because he and Steve have a history of pulling wicked stunts on each other.
That's one element of the film it would have been nice to see a little more developed. We get Steve's wariness of what appears to be Mary's out of control wackiness and unfounded obsession with him, but we do come to love her. We also come to see Steve for the good-looking loser he is, no better than Mary and maybe not nearly as good.
Where she's genuine and enthusiastic, he's undermotivated and definitely has issues. We never really find out what those are, and we don't see quite enough of why Steve and Hartman have the relationship they do. That hampers the eventual playing out of the main thread of the film, but the message is clear enough.
Don't despair if the first half of the film is a little clunky; it's all very satisfying in the end thanks to a veritable character quirk-fest and liberal fun poked at every facet of annoying human behavior from 24 hour news networks to instant celebrity obsession.
Yes, Mary may be a little nuts, but no more than anyone else. And at least she says what she means, and means what she says, not to mention getting to live out every woman's real fantasy: having the guy you fell for realize he made a mistake when he let you get away.
All About Steve