Australian Council on Children and the Media

All about Steve

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Not suitable under 8 (Scary scenes), not recommended under 12, PG 12-15 (Themes, sexual references, coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for All about Steve
  • a review of All about Steve completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 October 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to scary scenes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 8-11 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and sexual references
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: All about Steve
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) writes cross word puzzles for a local paper. She lives at home with her parents and is socially awkward but not shy about passing on a torrent of esoteric facts to anyone in ear shot.

Worried that she needs a little romance in her life, Mary’s parents set up a blind date for Mary, a cable news cameraman named Steve (Bradley Cooper). Initially, Mary is resistant to the whole affair, but when she sets eyes on Steve she is immediately attracted to him, throwing herself at him as soon as they get into his car. The encounter ends when Steve is called away to cover a breaking news story. Before leaving, he half-heartedly suggests that Mary could accompany him on the road, an offer that Mary must refuse because of her work commitments. Mary is so infatuated with Steve that her next crossword puzzle is ‘all about Steve’, which causes the local paper a great deal of embarrassment and results in Mary being fired.

Remembering Steve’s invitation, and no longer tied to work commitments, Mary decides to take up his offer to accompany him on the road. She boards a bus to Tucson and, after a near miss, tracks Steve down and confronts him. Fearing Mary to be some type of crazed stalker, Steve plans to end the relationship before it gets started. However, in an effort to torment Steve, Steve’s co-worker/newscaster presenter, Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church) encourages Mary to pursue Steve regardless of what Steve might say. As a result, when Steve tells Mary that he has no interest in her and wishes her to leave, Mary ignores him.

With two new found friends Howard (D.J. Qualls) and Elizabeth (Katy Mixon), Mary chases Steve across the country from one news story to another, with at times disastrous consequences that jeopardise Steve’s job.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Stalking

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

All About Steve contains some slapstick style violence and talk about violence. Examples include:

  • After being antagonised by Hartman, Steve punches him in the face.  Hartman has some blood on mouth/face
  • Mary quizzes a truck driver, asking him if he kills animals and if he has raped or dismembered anyone. Mary writes the truck driver’s licence number on her arm in permanent ink and then tells him that he will have to chop her up into little pieces to avoid the police tracking him down if he does injure her.   
  • Steve talks about the possibility of Mary being a homicidal stalker who will use a machete to carve his eyes out and cut his feet off and make him eat his own legs. We also hear Steve talking about how Mary might try to poison him with Steve refusing to eat food offered to him.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie, particularly of accidental harm, that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A dead horse is seen lying on the ground and we are told that the horse is a casualty of a siege crisis.
  • Steve is hit in the face by a camera and has blood on his mouth.
  • Mary trips over a power cable causing Steve to fall from a scaffold and land hard on the ground on his back; Steve is uninjured.
  • Mary and two friends are forced to hide in a storm drain when they are threatened by an approaching twister, we see their car lifted into the air and carried off by the twister, and we see the wrecked car dumped on the ground later.
  • We see a group of deaf children walking along and see a large area of ground collapse beneath their feet, with the children falling into the gaping hole, an abandoned mine shaft. Later we see firemen winching the children to safety, dirty but uninjured.
  • Mary later falls into the same hole in the ground and into a pool of water at the bottom of the shaft. Other than some blood on her knee Mary appears uninjured.
  • After falling into the mine shaft, Mary finds a young deaf child missed by rescuers. The child is dirty and appears frightened but is uninjured.
  • We hear reports of how a baby was born with three legs and how the parents are in a legal battle over having the baby’s third leg amputated.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple computers
  • Twinkies
  • soft drinks

Sexual references

All about Steve contains sexual references and innuendoes throughout. Examples include:

  • a number of references to men being gay, and reference to a town being “gay friendly”.
  • In reference to not having had sex for a while, Mary says she could use a little (Mary whistles), and then says “if you know what I mean”. In reference to a blind date, Mary’s mother says “Mary he’s hot”.
  • A woman talks about how she was born with a vestigial penis, and rubs her crotch up against a man’s leg to prove it to him.
  • Mary talks about Steve fondling her breasts, referring to her breasts as “little puppies”. 
  • Mary making talks about “betting her left ovary”.
  • Mary says that her second priority is fornication.    
  • A protester says that the pro group have better sex.
  • the comment “You banging a fireman”,
  • reference is made to a groin being ‘full of joy’.
  • A man tells a woman to rest her lips “for all sorts of naughtiness”.
  • Hartman tells Steve and Mary that he wants them to have a baby together.
  • One man tell another that he looks like a retired porn star.

Nudity and sexual activity

All About Steve contains some partial nudity and sexual activity. Examples include:

  • Mary wears low cut top that reveals her bra and deep cleavage and mini skirts that reveal bare thighs.
  • Throughout the course of the film we see a number of woman wearing low cut tops and at one point a cameraman deliberately zooms in on a woman wearing a top that displays deep cleavage and large breasts.   
  • We see Mary sitting next to Steve in a car (Mary has just met Steve) before Mary utters a word she jumps onto a surprised Steve straddling him and kissing him on the mouth. Mary unbuttons Steve’s shirt with Steve unbuttoning Mary’s top in return. We see the pair rolling around in the back of Steve’s car, Mary in bra and mini skirt and Steve with a naked chest with the pair passionately kissing each other. Mary places Steve’s hands on her breasts and we hear Mary say that she is going to eat Steve like a mountain lion. The pair is interrupted by Steve’s phone ringing. Steve says “Mary I can hurry”, but the encounter ends.
  • Mary lies in a bath full of bubbles and we see Mary’s exposed shoulders, thighs and knees. She runs through her house wearing a towel wrapped around her naked body. She straddles a banister rail and attempts to slide down, but grimaces and stops
  • A man slaps Mary on her clothed buttock on two occasions. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A man who is using a tube of glue makes the statement, “this glue’s making me high.”
  • A man in a rest stop diner drinks a beer.

Coarse language

All About Steve contains mild coarse language throughout, some name calling and some crude references. Examples include:

  • Pimping me out; damn; thank god; crazy person; bullshit; suck; screw up; crap; arsehole; son of a bitch; holy shit; banging; shut his cakehole; oh hell; shut up; Jesus; dumb arse; got some balls; horseshit.    

In a nutshell

All about Steve is a romantic comedy targeted at older adolescents (over sixteen years) and adults. Much of the film’s humour revolves around crude sexual innuendo and mockery of those who do not fit with what society views as the norm.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Do not change yourself to fit in with what others may think is normal. It is OK to be different.
  • The importance of perseverance. Perseverance was Mary’s favourite crossword puzzle word. She believed that if you stay with something you will eventually make it and the worst thing a person can do is to leave something unfinished.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with older children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • In the real world, what would the consequences of Mary’s stalking behaviour be? Is Mary’s behaviour (stalking) presented as less serious because she is a woman? Would Mary’s stalking behaviour be perceived differently if Mary’s character was replaced with a male character and Steve was a woman?

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