by Greg Muskewitz
Many times you will hear, or read, critics and commentators alike fuel the criticism that a bad ending to a good show, whether it is a gymnastic competition, football game, movie, et al, will taint the spectator's overall feelings on the subject.Such is the case with Jenniphr Goodman's The Tao of Steve. Mostly it is about a middle-aged obese guy named Dexter (Donal Logue with a fat suit) who has a way of getting any woman he wants. With his Taoist (pronounced Daoist, or The Dao of Steve) theories and Buddhist beliefs, he assesses that by being desireless, causes no disappointment if nothing were to happen, but because he acts like he wants nothing to happen, he leaves it up to the woman to go after it. And, not to his surprise, it works. Written by Jenniphr Goodman, Greer Goodman, who also plays the unobtainable woman that Dex actually does want, Syd, and Duncan North, of whose life this was supposed to be based on, for the most part, write a witty, commentative love story that breezes by with the originality and strong characterizations, by Logue, Goodman, and Nina Jaroslaw, and propel this to a commendable level. The Tao of Steve remains intelligent and diplomatic to the war of the sexes. I must admit, for the most part of the film, it rises above a lot of mediocrity of "serious love stories tinged with reality and a squeeze of comedy" (although there is more comedy here than I'm alluding to). Even though it may make light of some of the more serious issues, the scathing treatment it uses still brings it to an issue and makes an addendum of all of its points. (One of my favorite scenes was the explanation of why "Steve" is as "cool" as he is. (Steve McQueen, Steve McGarrett, Steve Austin; "Steve is a state of mind, a way of living," "Steve is the prototypical cool American male...he has his own code of honor, his own code of ethics, his own rules of living") However, everything that follows first in the film has the wind knocked out of it by the horrifically, loose-end-tying, and ridiculously out-of-place ending. The very last scene! It only lasts, like, thirty or so seconds, and it is so horrible and fairy tale, and just like any other romantic movie, of which the rest of The Tao of Steve avoided being like, that it comes as a disappointing surprise, a regression and a virulent asphyxiation to everything prior to it. I would, and still might consider this for my Muskewitz Awards for original screenplay, but that damn ending taints the rest so badly, that, that thirty-second ending may be its one and only disqualifier. Maybe if it went about it in a totally different way, and I don't mean a Todd Solondz-like way, but a justifiable way, maybe then it might have been warranted. A second viewing also gave me the chance to admire the luscious, bright cinematography by Teodoro Maniachi. Otherwise a real story about real people done reasonably well. Logue's performance is also one of the stronger in the leading male category.Final Verdict: B-.
"An enjoyable movie that is almost destroyed by its horrible ending."
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4422&reviewer=172
originally posted: 01/06/01 05:49:00