The Tao of Steve (review)

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Or The Zen of Guyness. The toast of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Jenniphr Goodman’s romantic comedy is the latest in what’s becoming a mini-genre: the renunciation of GenX relationship slackerdom, in which thirtysomethings learn to make a romantic commitment, settle down, and — *gulp* — even like it (see High Fidelity). Kindergarten teacher Dex (Donal Logue: The Patriot) believes that “doing stuff is overrated” and likens himself to a Buddhist monk… but his philosophies are geared toward getting laid, as frequently and with as great a variety of women as possible, without actually getting emotionally involved. Dex’s Tao of Steve — Steve being the “prototypical American male”; the ultimate example: Steve McQueen — bags him lots of girls, but it’s a scam, and Dex knows precisely what an empty, lonely loser he is. And then he meets Syd (Greer Goodman), an opera set designer and musician. Following the Tao of Steve doesn’t work with her, and Dex finds himself actually falling in love with her just as she’s discovering what a colossal jerk he has been to his previous girlfriends. Can Dex redeem himself and figure out how to handle a genuine relationship, in all its scary intimacy, before Syd blows him off forever? It’s a familiar story, one we’ve seen plenty often, but it’s pulled off here with wit and charm, thanks in large part to the underrated Logue, who previously hasn’t had a chance quite this juicy to show off what an appealing and charismatic actor he is. Greer Goodman is terrific, too, as exactly the kind of cool, no-nonsense gal you know is gonna flummox a guy like Dex for the rest of his life… and make him love it.

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