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When crossword puzzle constructor Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) is set up on a blind date with news cameraman Steve (Bradley Cooper), Mary thinks the chemistry is undeniable and just knows she's found her soulmate. She decides to do anything and go anywhere to be with him. Mary's escalating infatuation is encouraged by the self-serving actions of news reporter Hartman Hughes (Thomas Haden Church) who enjoys torturing his insolent cameraman at every opportunity. As the news team crisscrosses the country covering breaking news stories, Steve becomes increasingly unhinged as Mary trails them. But when the overzealous Mary becomes embroiled in the news story of the year, Steve and Hartman begin to see her differently.

Review by Louise Keller:
Disaster is an eight letter word that aptly describes this grossly misjudged, overplayed, unfunny comedy about a hyper crossword constructor who stalks her blind date. Filled with low points worthy of eye-rolling, the puzzle is how, why and what could have possessed everyone involved to think it would work. Played for laughs, the characters and situations are never grounded in reality and as a consequence, the film plays like a farce tarnished by embarrassment.

Sandra Bullock can play ditzy beautifully as she showed us in Miss Congeniality, but here, her blonde, maniacal, verbose, ranting wordsmith who approaches life with the same questions as her crosswords ('Is it solvable; is it entertaining; does it sparkle?') sadly does not work. (The film is none of those things.) Watching Bullock hyperactively talk to herself at the bottom of a mine shaft with only a deaf child listening, as she explains her love affair for her red, patent leather knee-high boots ('they make her toes feel like 10 friends of a camping trip'), is rather sad. Bradley Cooper, as her lust interest, delivers what is expected (although, after The Hangover, we expect more), and Thomas Haden Church, who is always good value, is a bit like an oversize (albeit watchable), ham sandwich. Ken Jeong, unforgettable from his naked turn in the trunk of a car in The Hangover, is fine as Angus, the news producer, but there is no credibility or terms of endearment for any of these characters.

The film is a road-trip of sorts that starts when Bullock's Mary Horowitz is fired from her job (she creates a crossword with all the clues About Steve) and sets off in pursuit of Cooper's Steve, who is shooting the news as it happens across the country. There's a hostage drama, a controversy about a three-legged baby called Peggy in Oklahoma (there are pro-leggers and anti-leggers), a tornado in Galveston and a mineshaft accident in Colorado. 'Be normal,' her boss Corbitt (Keith David) pleads, but there's no chance of that, not with wide-eyed truckies and an apple sculptor (who creates semblances with apples and wigs) and a script that keeps its audience at arm's length and aghast at where the story is heading.

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(US, 2009)

CAST: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong, D J Qualls, Keith David, Howard Hesseman, Beth Grant, Katy Mixon

PRODUCER: Sandra Bullock, Mary McLaglen

DIRECTOR: Phil Traill

SCRIPT: Kim Barker


EDITOR: Rod Dean, Virginia Katz

MUSIC: Christoph Beck

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 22, 2009

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