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THE TAO OF STEVE (R)
Good Machine / Sony Pictures Classics
Official Site


Director: Jenniphr Goodman

Producer: Anthony Bregman

Written By : Duncan North with Greer Goodman & Jenniphr Goodman

Cast: Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, Kimo Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson, David Aaron Baker, Nina Jaroslaw, John Hines, Selby Craig, Craig D. Lafayette

Rating: ----

THE TAO OF STEVE is all about the cool, the studied detachment, and the infinite desirability of the guys women fall all over--Steves. As in McGarrett. As in Austin. And most especially as in McQueen. From an aromatic blend of the writings of Nietzche, Lao Tzu, and Groucho Marx, arises The Tao--how to behave so that women will want you.

The story starts at a college reunion where Rick and Maggie have brought along reluctant pal Dex (Logue, THE PATRIOT, THE OPPORTUNISTS, STEAL THIS MOVIE), the class Lothario. Now an overweight part-time kindergarten teacher, Dex seems like unlikely swoon material. But he is in fact, a serious player, who can't help working his wiles on old conquests as well as new young honeys until, across a crowded room he sees ... the one. Her name is Syd (Goodman), and she's completely clear-eyed about Dex and his seduction schtick.

THE TAO OF STEVE doesn't transgress any of the familiar structures of its genre. Who'll fall for whom? Who'll wind up together? You won't spend much time on these questions. But then again with romantic comedies, it's the journey, not the destination. In this case, the journey seduces completely.

Donal Logue has the kind transparent, cherubic charm that makes you think you're choosing to go along rather than being taken. Greer Goodman's smart, tough-minded performance as Syd nicely balances a moral compass and a sense of humor. Director Goodman (Greer's sister) gets unactorly performances from both children and adults--a neat trick--and makes the city and environs of Santa Fe a full-blown character as well.

The movie has some fun with itself. Syd designs sets for operas, so we get to see the striking Santa Fe Opera Theater as well as listen to some highly pertinent chat about Don Giovanni. Dex copies his idol's schtick from THE GREAT ESCAPE. Dex and his roommates live in the best house on the planet, complete with pool table, poker nights, a fridge full of beer, a disc golf course in the back yard, plus a young roomie who's eager to learn the secrets of seduction (think COME BLOW YOUR HORN).

All in all, THE TAO OF STEVE is a pretty good way to spend an hour and a half. (Avoid going with annoying persons who have a tendency to quote from movies, or you'll be listening to half-baked philosophical bullshit for weeks.) One disappointment is that Dex was so captivating and interesting as a player that I kind of lost interest in him when he reformed. Fortunately, for most of the movie, he's as unregenerate as Don Giovanni.

—Roxanne Bogucka, an ACTION GRRL!


HYBRID Ratings Guide:

- Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

- Itís worth a full-price ticket.

- Itís worth a matinee ticket.

- Wait for video rental.

- Check out the video from the library, if you must.

- While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...



Mike Doughty



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