Too cool. Dex (Logue, left) explains his success with he ladies...
The Tao of Steve

dir Jenniphr Goodman
scr Duncan North, Greer Goodman, Jenniphr Goodman
with Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, Kimo Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson, Nina Jaroslaw, David Aaron Baker, John Hines, Selby Craig, Matthew Hotsinpiller, Craig D Lafayette
release US 4.Aug.00; UK 2.Mar.01
award Best Actor Logue (Sundance 00)
00/US 1h28 3 out of 5 stars
REVIEW BY RICH CLINE
Warm, funny and very original, Goodman's film debut is basically a fictionalised examination of her friend and cowriter North's life. Here he's called Dex (Logue), and he's an overweight part-time preschool teacher who at his 10-year college reunion couldn't look more like an underachiever if he tried. But his attitude toward life, a blending of philosophies he calls the Tao of Steve, is the secret to his astonishing success with women. "Steve" refers to all those cool screen icons--Austin, McGarrett and most notably McQueen--not particularly good-looking men who nevertheless had gorgeous girls all over them. Yet even as Dex lives by these principles, he finds himself caught out when he meets Syd (Greer Goodman).

Logue's disarming charm makes the film work wonderfully; we like and fully believe in him--his sincere ideas, intelligence and underlying goodness are what the women fall for, even if he's too thick to realise why. This solid performance helps pave over the fluffy rom-com structure and makes the film thoroughly engaging on several levels. All of the characters have the ring of truth to them--Syd is ambitious and wary (for good reason, we discover); Dex's friend Dave (Wills) is far too eager to make the Tao work for him; Dex's relationship with a married friend (Kaznelson) is unpredictable and tricky. So even when things get overtly goofy, the film keeps its feet on the ground, making us examine our own outlook and relationships in a fresh (although not particularly deep) way. And Goodman does such a nice job of capturing the laid back, unpretentious atmosphere in Santa Fe that by the end we just want to move there!
themes, language cert 15 20.Feb.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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