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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.12.2001

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flick pick | The Tao of Steve 2000
Directed by: Jenniphr Goodman
Written by: Duncan North, Greer Goodman, Jenniphr Goodman
Starring: Donal Logue, Greer Goodman
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
comedy
Watch it when youíre in the mood for something:
lovey, quintessentially quasi-adult
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Overweight Dex is the walking definition of a slacker bachelor. He fritters his days away smoking pot, drinking beer, tossing a frisbee around with his friends, ó and to balance the fun, spends just a few half-days a week working as a nursery school teacher. He's perfectly happy heading nowhere and remaining single. After all, itís not as if he doesnít enjoy an inexplicable success rate when it comes to seducing women far more beautiful and accomplished than he is. The former philosophy student may not have put his quick mind to much use career-wise, but all that reading of Buddhism,  Confucianism and the like hasnít gone completely to waste: itís lead him to the discovery of the Tao of Steve, the path towards making oneself irresistible to women. The Tao of Steve divides all males into two types: the Steves, the cool guys who always get the girls, and the Stus, who perpetually try too hard and, sadly, donít. The secret to becoming a Steve isnít in looks, asserts Dex, but in following three fundamental rules: 1) Be desireless; 2) Be excellent; 3) Be gone. But when Dex meets Syd at their college reunion, she throws his world for a loop. And Dex soon finds that the right woman can turn even a hardcore Steve into a little bit of a Stu.

Review The Tao of Steve is a charming little piece of romantic indie fluff, and I donít mean that as a put-down in any way at all. In many respects, itís a conventional, old-fashioned romantic comedy Ė boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy wins girl over with his irrepressible charm once sheís made him see the error of his ways, love and happiness prevail. Thereís nothing I could tell you about this movie that could even remotely be considered a spoiler Ė you know exactly whatís going to happen between Dex and Syd within 10 minutes of the opening credits. Which is fine, because who doesnít love a good  happy-smiley love story that provides plenty of smart laughs along the way? The Tao of Steve is especially satisfying because the two main characters are so refreshingly normal looking that you completely buy into them as real people, not contrived characters. Greer Goodmanís Syd is attractive, yes, but itís her no-nonsense sassiness and wit that make her beautiful Ė her looks themselves are just slightly on the plus side of plain. As for Dex, thereís no two ways about it: the guyís a complete oaf. It takes a truckload of natural charisma to convince us viewers that a beer-gutted loser can be a magnet for women, but Donal Logue succeeds at just that, thus proving that heís way too appealing an actor to be wasting his time on his current job, star of the not-funny sitcom Grounded for Life. The Tao of Steve never quite succeeds when it veers off into quasi-intellectual philosophizing, but as a light, intelligent, feel-good romance, it works. And if you donít fall in love with any of the characters, thereís always the lovely Santa Fe setting. óreviewed by Y. Sun 

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