Decline in the Tao
"The Tao of Steve," like its portly pickup-artist protagonist, just isn't as cool as it thinks it is.
By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
In order to be successful with the ladies, you have to have the Tao of Steve, otherwise you're just a Stu. So preaches "The Tao of Steve," an independent first feature by
director Jenniphr Goodman about an overweight Santa Fe slacker called Dex whom, for some unimaginable reason, women find irresistible.
Certainly it's not his dining etiquette. Ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Redi-Whip go straight from the refrigerator into Dex's mouth no dinnerware necessary. And don't
forget to save some for the dog!
|THE TAO OF STEVE|
|Directed by: Jenniphr Goodman.|
Written by: Duncan North, Greer Goodman, Jenniphr Goodman.
Cast: Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, James "Kimo" Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson, David Aaron Baker, Nina Jaroslaw, John Hines, Selby Craig, Craig D. Lafayette.
Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
Among those who fall for the pot-smoking yet high-on-existentialism kindergarten teacher are the wife of one of his best friends and a plucky young student tending bar at
the 10-year reunion which opens the film. Dex is cool, Dex is hot, and when it comes to women, Dex has it all figured out. But then someone like Syd (Greer Goodman), a
theatrical set designer, comes along, and suddenly Dex has more questions than answers.
It's a cute idea for a silly movie but, sadly, The Tao of Steve hits two major stumbling blocks: substandard actors and a substandard script. Most of the performers here
are rank amateurs and come across as such. These, unfortunately, include Donal Logue as the portly Dex, who's asked to carry the weight of the movie along with his own
bulk, and the task is just too much for him. The best performer in the film is co-writer Greer Goodman, which is encouraging because she's also the director's sister.
The script, by the Goodmans and Duncan North (based on North himself, according to the end credits), isn't as clever as it should be. If you have to explain who the Steves
(Steve McGarrett, Steve Austin, and Steve McQueen) who give "The Tao of Steve" its name are, then you're playing to the wrong audience. Constant name calling ("Hey,
Martha Stewart" someone quips while Dex prepares his aphrodisiacal mango mahi-mahi) doesn't make your script hip either there's way too much of this and not enough
Is Dex as cool as he thinks he is? Syd certainly seems impervious to his charms. But as soon as Dex starts spouting his Zen philosophies and espousing the seductive merits
of Kierkegaard, she too is all over him. So whatever couple conflicts the scriptwriters initially dreamed up soon deteriorate into more of the same: Dex has got It. Although he
can barely hold down a job, with the Tao of Steve in his repertoire Dex can sure hold down the babes. By the time this film is over you'll be asking yourself, "Why?"
As lightweight as its central protagonist is overweight, The Tao of Steve is an amiable little picture that bumbles along harmlessly all the while banking on the new-age
affability of its lead Logue. It is, however, only occasionally successful in making pertinent observations about the ongoing battle of the sexes.
|AUGUST 30, 2000|
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