by Jason Whyte
His name is Dex. He's an elementary school teacher who is smart, but overweight, smokes pot, and likes to do the same with his crazy friends. Dex is an all around goof. Yet Dex seems to be having a lot of luck with women, and a lot of sex.Jenniphr Goodman's "The Tao of Steve" in a twisted way, is like "Swingers" in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dex, played by Donal Logue, is exactly what was described above, and by using a technique to woo women by Taoism (Buddist technique, pronounced "Dow" like "Dow Jones"). Through the technique of withdrawl ("A woman waits fifteen minutes longer than a man to have sex, so if you wait for 20, she'll be chasing you for five."), eliminating all forms of desire and acting like the nicest guy in the world around them, Dex thinks of himself as a ladies' man, and tells all of his friends that is the way to get women.
"Makes you want to learn the Tao."
Not so, according to the beautiful Syd (Greer Goodman), who is in Santa Fe for a few days working on a set design for an Opera in town. Dex is so smitten with Syd that all of his rules of wooing women come to a head, and Syd sees right through him. Furthermore, there are secrets about both of their pasts.
It seems like "The Tao of Steve" is the battle of the sexes, but the film is directed and co-written by Jenniphr Goodman along with her sister Greer, who plays Syd in the film. It plays more like a story of how men are uncomfortable being themselves and women who are too conservative. What's nice is the film doesn't take sides either. Both parties have their flaws and problems, just like in reality.
Also, the dialogue is fresh and honest, instead of being dialogue just to service the plot (see any of the year's so called romantic or teen films). I liked moments where Dex just talks to his friends, or when he is having fun with his students, or even in the camping scenes where he seems very out of place (until it's discovered that Syd is too)."The Tao of Steve" is nowhere near a perfect film, with a few contrivances and idiot plot misunderstandings here and there, including a rushed ending. As well, the film could have been another reel longer (I clocked 85 minutes with fast credits). These aren't nitpicks, they are noticable flaws. Still, there is much more good then bad, in an entertaining romantic comedy that will, hopefully make a star out of Donal Logue.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4422&reviewer=350
originally posted: 09/14/04 15:52:48