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With: Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, James 'Kimo' Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson, David Aaron Baker, Nina Jaroslaw, John Hines, John Harrington Bland, Selby Craig, Craig D. Lafayette, Dana Goodman, Matthew Hotsinpiller, Sue Cremin, Roxanne De Mien, Jessica Bohan, Tristan Bennett, Duncan North, Zak Garcia, Jacob Sanchez, Cira Sandoval, Shane Hamashige, Jeannie Bauder, Nicholas Ballas, Mataika Amon, Garland Hunter
Written by: Greer Goodman, Jenniphr Goodman, Duncan North
Directed by: Jenniphr Goodman
MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug use
Running Time: 87
Date: 01/26/2000

The Tao of Steve (2000)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Number One With a Bullitt

by Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jean-Luc Godard once said that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, but maybe all you really need is a well-written character like Dex, and a very good actor like Donal Logue to play him. That's just about all The Tao of Steve has going for it, but you can't help falling for this likable little film anyway.

Dex is a fat guy, an underachiever who was the smartest kid in school, but now does as little as possible and makes a living as a Kindergarten teacher. He and his friends have developed the Tao of Steve, based on Steve McQueen and other cool guys, that helps them get women. Part of this theory is based on Dex's extensive knowledge of world religion, which he quotes like movie lines. So, it goes without saying that he meets the one girl he can't have and becomes so smitten with her that he gives up the Tao of Steve and learns to be himself. (The girl is played by Greer Goodman who also co-wrote the screenplay and is the real person who studied all those world religions).

This enjoyable movie is most marred by an annoying supporting character, played with as little talent as possible, exists only as a plot device to trigger verbal explanations of the Tao of Steve as well as awkward turning points. You just hate this guy and you can't help wondering why Dex is wasting his time trying to educate him.

In fact, most of the other characters exist simply to give Dex someone to talk to so that he can be charming and intelligent. Indeed, the whole world of this movie revolves around Dex. I can't think of another movie that rested so solely on the heft (pardon) of one character and one actor. Logue was made famous by a character on MTV, and has appeared in small parts in movies the likes of Runaway Bride and The Patriot. Kudos to whoever it was who discovered him and put him in the right kind of movie.

I have to give credit as well to first-time writer and director Jenniphr Goodman, and her first-time co-writers Greer Goodman and Duncan North. Though no other characters are developed past plot devices, most of the talk is interesting and intelligent. And that counts for a lot in such a dry movie season.

Faint praise for a movie I so enjoyed? Maybe. But perhaps it just takes a little faith.

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