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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 34min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 16, 2010
January 19, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] -- It must be difficult to ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Fortis Films, Fox 2000 Pictures, Radar Pictures
Distribution (US): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Phil Trail
Producer(s): Sandra Bullock, Trevor Engelson, Ted Field, Jeffrey Harlacker,Mary McLaglen, Nick Osborne
Written by: Kim Barker
Cinematography/Camera: Tim Suhrstedt
Music: Christophe Beck
Film Editing: Rod Dean, Virginia Katz
Casting: Juel Bestrop, Seth Yanklewitz
Production Design: Maher Ahmad
Art Direction: Austin Gorg
Viewed 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

It must be difficult to make a hard R-13 out of a romantic comedy, but Kim Barker, Fortis Films, Fox 2000, Radar Pictures and Phil Trail did it. All About Steve earned R-equivalent scores in three of the six CAP investigation areas: in Impudence/Hate (I) [mostly language], Sexual Immorality (S) [mostly vulgar innuendo] and Offense to God (O) [mostly His name in vain]. Other than that, it is PG- of G-equivalent in Wanton Violence/Crime (W), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Murder/Suicide (M):

W - 72
I - Zero
S - Zero
D - 82
O - 11
M - 100
(anything 54 and below is R-equivalent)

An unusual distribution of assaults on morality and decency.

Cruciverbalist Mary Magdalene Horowitz (Sandra Bullcok) is top notch at what she does. As a brilliant and dedicated writer of crossword puzzles for the Sacramento Herald, Mary has no equal. But as a girl on the boy-girl playing field Mary has no life because of her workaholism. Her parents know it -- she is living with them until fumigation of her apartment is finished. Even her boss Solomon (Holmes Osborne) wants Mary to get out and enjoy herself instead of obsessing over crossword puzzles.

Mary finds more fulfillment in speaking to an elementary school group than in dating. But mom and dad have other plans for Mary. They want her to have a healthy relationship with a guy so they arrange a blind date for Mary with Steve Muller (Bradley Cooper), a successful cameraman for CCN News reporter Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church).

Reluctantly Mary agrees to the blind date. She goes through the motions of preparing for the date with bland attire and even more bland hopes for the date ... until she sees Steve. Mary likey! Mary likey Steve so much she sexually throws herself on him in his SUV in an attempt to have a relationship with Steve. But Steve gets a call and must jet off to Boston on a key assignment. Okay. He has work to do. But Mary is not about to let go of Steve. So she follows him. Just because Steve, in the middle of their romp and roll in his SUV, had told Mary disingenuously that she should go on the road with him. Thinking Steve was sincere, Mary hit the road to collect on Steve's offer.

First stop? Tucson, AZ where Steve and Hartman were covering Wild Willy's Ol' Western Town where an employee kidnapped eight fellow workers. Mary's bus took her part way and dumped her at the Halfway House Café just to get her non-stop mouth off the bus. There Mary gets a ride with a trucker to Tucson. But by the time Mary gets to Wild Willy's the kidnapper had surrendered and all were well and the town looked like a ghost town. No Steve.

At Wild Willy's, Mary overhears a radio announcement of a baby, Baby Peggy, born with an extremely rare third leg in Oklahoma City. Aside from the newsworthiness of the extremely rare birth defect, news reports as usual dig up dirt and latch onto the schism between the mother and father. Though separated the parents have joint custody. Mom wants the leg removed and the courts back her up but dad wants the third leg left alone. Mary knew this would draw Steve and Hartman to the story like a fly to ...

Well, suffice it to say Mary follows Steve over much of the continental southwest to continue her quest to be with him. The last and most effective stop is at the Silver Plume, Colorado Fair where a group of hearing-impaired children get swallowed up by an abandoned mine shaft in a field as they ran across the field to the fair. This is the assignment for which Hartman, now suffering dwindling popularity, was hoping. And, of course, Mary shows up ... and falls in the pit from which all the children but one had been rescued. Here is the only real cinematic climax. But it is not because of any romance but is because of courage and selflessness demonstrated in child rescue. In that, Barker and Company did a good job ... a good job if it were not for the saturation of the film with profanity and sexual matters.

For a romantic comedy, this one doesn't make it. If it were not for the quality performances and end-of-film cliamx through rescue that elevate the cinematic experience beyond its profane, impure script, it would be another dud.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 72 out of 100
All About Steve is not a violent film in the literal sense. The only matters of violence and/or crime were a hit in the face, the mostly hidden hostage situation, storm peril, the couple dozen children falling into the mine shaft and the rescue perils. While each instance is indeed violent/criminal, the only matters of violence by aggression are the hit to the face and the hostage situation (which was portrayed but all we see of it is the S.W.A.T buss).

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty seven times someone spews one of the three/four letter words. And Mary was heard excusing profanity under certain conditions. That is akin to the arrogance of the prostitute saying she's done nothing wrong. [Prov. 30:20] In addition to the tons of profanity, a vulgar gesture was seen once, one character had massive tattoos and Hartman is made great by the story through dishonesty.

Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
Some little and not so little snippets of poison to our innate sexual humility infect the script and choreography. Throughout. The sexually immoral content would require too much space to even summarize here. Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section (the heart of the CAP Analysis Model) for a complete accounting of the content revealed by this investigation area. As with most modern PG-13 movies and some PG movies, the instances of sexually immoral content in this film are tons of the "lesser" kind that are so many in number that their combined "power" mimic the weight of fewer but more extreme instances of sexual immoral material typically found in R-rated films -- and this film certainly does. See our CAP Rule of 1000 publication for more information on this cinematic technique of loading/weighting the content of a lesser rated film to achieve the "feel" of a more severely rated film without invoking the more severe rating. [Gal. 5:19, Rom. 13:13, Eph. 5:3 -5]

Please note that God calls such content eutrapelia, meaning scurrility, ribaldry ... unclean. "Unclean" as used in the above verses is not about being in need of bathing, it is akathartos which means unclean in thought and life: impure, immoral. Being sexually pure takes more than abstaining from physical sexual misdeeds Being sexually pure includes not filling your mind with lustful and debaucherous images and talk which, it turn, cause unclean thoughts-and desires.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 89 out of 100
Mary speaks of "booger sugar", meaning cocaine. Whether said in a positive or negative way, it is bringing up illegal drugs which plants thoughts and ideas. Other than that, the only instance of content applicable to this investigation area was drinking by a man in the café.

Offense to God (O) - 11 out of 100
God is little more than a three letter word in this film. God does not like that. In no uncertain terms. God's name is abused 21 times though each is without the four letter expletive. In one case God is thanked for an opportunity of the sexually impure nature. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
No murders. No suicides.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress [or adulterer]: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.' [Though this verse uses "adulteress" to make its point, the heart of the matter is the arrogance of "What's the big deal!" or "It's okay sometimes" defense of sexual immorality (or any other wrong-doings). This verse makes an adulter(er/ess) of many filmmakers and performers, thinking they can demonstrate behavioral impurity while thinking they've done no wrong.]
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; ... [Note that the "sexually immoral" is not limited to physical deeds. The term comes from akatharsia which also means "unclean", "lustful" and "of impure motives": that which such content as in this film brings into the mind and/or heart.]
  • Rom. 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
  • Eph. 5:3 - 5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness [aischrotes: obscenity], nor foolish talking, nor jesting [eutrapelia: scurrility, ribaldry], which are not convenient [aneko proper, fitting]: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger [pornos: s/he who indulges in (Biblically) unlawful intercourse], nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. ["Unclean" is not about being in need of bathing, it is akathartos which means impure in thought and life-immoral. Being sexually pure takes more than abstaining from physical sexual misdeeds. Being sexually pure includes not filling your mind with lustful and debaucherous images and talk which, it turn, cause unclean thoughts-and desires. And watching this sort of "entertainment" certainly does fill your wind with "impure thought."]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity,such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    All About Steve (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 72 out of 100
  • hostage situation in "background"
  • hit to face
  • many children falling into abandoned mine shaft
  • rescue peril, long
  • storm peril

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 27 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • excusing profanity as acceptable "under certain situations"
  • vulgar gesture
  • personal greatness by deceit
  • massive tattoos

    Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
  • talk of provocative underwear and its influence on men
  • innuendo re: intercourse, repeatedly
  • self touching
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly
  • man and woman making out, undressing to underwear in SUV, long sequence
  • woman sexually attacking man, repeatedly
  • adults in underwear, repeatedly
  • inappropriate touch, woman placing man's hands on her breasts in a bra
  • inappropriate touch, man's hands on woman's breasts in a bra
  • "gay" touch in public restroom
  • woman in tub with translucent sight of pubic hair
  • woman in bath towel only
  • innuendo re: male anatomy, repeatedly
  • elderly woman speaking vulgarly
  • elderly woman rubbing her privates against a man's leg
  • leg wrapping
  • man fondling woman's breasts dressed in bra
  • talk if making out
  • innuendo re: request for sex, re: sex act, re: sexual anatomy
  • man's hand on woman's rear, repeatedly
  • multiple references to and comments about homosexuality
  • woman using sex to attract a man
  • trying to excuse a sexual invitation
  • speaking in accepting way of the practice of homosexuality
  • wearing skirt to expose leg skin throughout
  • rude gaze

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 89 out of 100
  • reference to "booger sugar" (cocaine)
  • drinking beer, once

    Offense to God (O) - 11 out of 100
  • 21 uses of God's name in vain though all without the four letter expletive
  • giving verbal attention to "the gods."
  • thanking God for sensuous matter

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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