Dex, an overweight ladies man, shares the secret of his success with his friends, but when Syd, a former college flame returns to Santa Fe, Dex finds himself as clueless as his friends. — Genre: Feature Film-Comedy — Rating:... more » R
"Chant all day, check out chicks and pretend to be holy."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen Donal Logue in a number of things (I first saw him in the mid 90's on MTV as a greasy cab driver), most notably the first Blade (1998) film and the TV show `Grounded for Life' (which is actually pretty good, although I'm unsure if it is still on the air), and he's always been a hefty fellow, but seeing him in The Tao of Steve (2000) set me back a little as it looked like he really packed on the weight, complete with distended gut and all. Was it for the film? Or just perhaps something due to his particular lifestyle at the time? I don't know, and I suppose it doesn't really matter, but what I do know is I liked this film, even if his character wasn't particularly likeable. Co-written by Duncan North, Greer Goodman (who also has a starring role), and Jenniphr Goodman (who is also the director), the film stars, as I already mentioned, Donal Logue and Greer Goodman. Also appearing is James 'Kimo' Wills (Buffalo Soldiers), Ayelet Kaznelson (Four Lane Highway), and David Aaron Baker (Kissing Jessica Stein).
First off I think it's important to mention there is no character in this film named `Steve'. The main character is named Dex, and played by Logue. Dex is an overweight, educated, intelligent, philosophizing, unattractive, part-time working lump of a human being with seemingly little ambition other than to get into women's pants. To this regard, he has developed what he calls the `Tao of Steve', which consists of three main aspects when it comes to dealing with women. As far as the `Steve' part, that relates to the `coolness' exhibited by popular cultural icons that are named Steve, like Steve McQueen, Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man), and Steve McGarrett, from the Hawaii 5-0 TV show...in other words, the epitome of coolness, for some at least...anyway, back to the three main aspects...the first is to eliminate all desire, especially for those who don't have the physical attributes of say, an Adonis...this entails not letting a woman know how much you want to nail her. Apparently women can smell desperation, but if you show no interest in her, she may begin to wonder, being that she is really hot and way out of your league, why don't you want her? All women have insecurities, and this seems a roundabout way to capitalize on them...the 2nd aspect, once you've eliminated desire, is to be excellent...not in general, but do something in front of the woman you want to get with to show her you have a quality worthy of her giving `it' up. The 3rd and final aspect is to retreat...meaning, once you've hooked her, back off and let her come to you. This gives her the assumption that she has the power and is dictating when the time for the horizontal shimmy is appropriate. Using this simple philosophy, along with a whole lot of BS, Dex is able to score much more regularly despite his slovenly physical nature would normally allow for...and this is working well until he meets Syd (Goodman), a woman Dex begins to see as real, flesh and blood individual rather than just another possible conquest.
Okay, the character of Dex isn't particularly likeable to most of us, given his manipulative nature and seemingly superficial views on women and relationships in general, but he's still fun to watch. There is an underlying theme throughout of Dex utilizing the inherent complexities (and insecurities) of women in order to bed them, which is dealt with under the justification that since Dex is not, or will never be, a pretty boy, he must find some other tactics to achieve his goals. I don't think there are many of us who haven't employed any one of his theories at one time or another, the difference being Dex just happens to have developed and refined them to the point of actually being a workable system. Most important is how it is applied to the particular individual (in this case Dex), and that individual having an understanding of his own capabilities and/or limitations. The story is really nothing new, a somewhat slick BS artist set in his ways coming up against someone who draws forth feelings and desires that go further than what he is accustom to, and subsequently has difficulty in dealing with the revelation of his true, core being, that of someone who actually may be human, but the way the story is told is a little different than what I was used to...there's a realistic element involved, in that Logue isn't a Robert Downey Hollywood sort (Downey has done a number of roles like this), and the catalyst in the character of Syd is certainly beautiful, but not necessarily unobtainable. She's also intelligent enough to perceive a certain amount of BS when presented to her, and Dex realizes this very soon after he delivers his standard attempts, to which he quickly admits thus to Syd, perhaps in an effort to say, `Yes, I am a despicable fellow, but not so much with you as you're so different than any of those I've encountered before.' Dex doesn't really come off as an endearing sort throughout the film, but we do see sort of an `awakening', a self realization that life is not a series of simplistic encounters and a serious, complex relationship is something worth having and maintaining. Did I mention this is a comedy? Because it sounds, from my review, I am making this out to be something other than it is...overall I think this is a film comprised of a couple of different levels, one that works as a comedy, but also features the underlying aspects I mentioned above, both of which come together nicely at the end.
The anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) picture on this DVD comes through nicely, as does the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Special features include a commentary track from director Jenniphr Goodman, actress Greer Goodman, actor Donal Logue, and writer Duncan North, along with talent files and trailers for other films Logue has appeared in, including Jerry McGuire (1996), The Patriot (2000), and this film.
Orrin C. Judd | Hanover, NH USA | 10/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before I begin, I should probably acknowledge that all that I understand about women, dating,
relationships between men and women, and sex in general can comfortably be written on the the head
of a pin with room left over for a whole passel of angels to dance upon. So my comments on a film
whose main concern is the "Merry War" (Orwell's felicitous phrase) between men and women should
be taken with an even larger grain of salt than usual.At any rate, in a film which sisters Jenniphr and Greer Goodman based on a friend (co-writer Duncan
North), Donal Logue plays a slovenly, bong loving, philosophy major, who, now ten years out of
college, is a kindergarten-teaching sybarite, whose improbable continued success at bedding women,
including a friend's wife, makes him the philosopher king of his group of housemates and hangers-on.
As such he expounds upon his method for hooking up with babes, a series of shallow, though amusing,
maxims that he's dressed up as "The Tao of Steve". Named for a group of ultracool guys from the
70s--Steve McGarrett (of Hawaii Five-O), Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man), and the
ultimate Steve, Steve McQueen--the Tao boils down to three rules to follow when pursuing women : (1) Eliminate your desire. (Which basically suggests that you pretend you aren't trying to get
your hood waxed.) (2) Do something excellent in your target's presence. (Typically this might include playing pool
in a barroom setting, but in Dex's case consists of showing off intellectually and being good
with the kids he teaches.) (3) and, Retreat. (Prior generations would have called this "playing hard to get.")God only knows, if even he does, what makes certain men successful with women, but one thing is
reasonably certain : it isn't the Tao of Steve. Instead, as both the time that Dex put into developing his
theories and his obsession with sex tend to prove, it's really just a matter of effort and willingness.
Persistence, to the exclusion of pride and decency, and the acceptance, of whatever's offered, those are
the real keys. Dex, though he is charming in a roguish kind of way (in what should by all rights be a
star-making turn by Logue), resembles the babe hounds we all know, or knew, in just that one way; for
all his talk of desirelessness and retreat, he works really hard at scamming babes, to the point where he
doesn't really have time for much else.That is until he meets Syd, a pretty, blonde, stage set designer, at their 10th college reunion and she
proves maddeningly immune to his charms. At one point when he starts pontificating about Don Juan,
she says that he : ...slept with thousands of women because he was afraid that he would never be loved by one.In his increasingly desperate pursuit of her, Dex pretty much ignores all of his own rules--his desire is
manifest; he humiliates himself on a camping trip and gets beaten up by the cuckolded husband; and he
is omnipresent--but still, inevitably, gets the girl. Holding her however proves to be far more difficult,
particularly when she finds out about the Tao, and Dex is forced to choose between an adult
relationship with a woman he loves, or a continuation of his rather infantile existence. You'll not have
difficulty guessing which he chooses.All of this is exactly as predictable as it sounds in the retelling, but it somehow works. The film has a
few things going for it. First, the script is intelligent and frequently funny, not in a pretentious and
intellectual way, but in the manner of late night conversation around a beer tap. It may not hold
together too well when exposed to the light of day, but it's amusing while it lasts. Second, there's
Donal Logue. Dex is so cretinous that it is impossible to like him all of the time, or even much of the
time, but Logue is so charming that it's equally hard to truly dislike him. Lurking beneath the layers of
fat, the clouds of pot, the erudite facade, and the saccharine exterior, we sense there's a worthwhile
fellow trapped within his own immaturity and selfishness. Third, the New Mexico setting and the
excellent soundtrack help to give the film a strong and unusual identity, a distinctness that the
somewhat overfamiliar story does not have.Finally though, what makes the film stand out is something that probably shouldn't, that it requires its
main character to become a better person. The blockbusterization of Hollywood--which has largely
substituted action and special effects for plot, dialogue, and character development--and the chicness of
the independent industry--which has elevated snappy dialogue and sensational plots over all else--and
the blanket of political correctness which has descended over both, have brought us to the point where
the rarest of all things in the movies is a traditional moral tale like this one. How old-fashioned to
offer us a movie where a smart but smarmy ladies man is transformed by the love of a good woman--it
sounds more like a Rock Hudson/Doris Day vehicle than a Sundance entry, doesn't it?One social phenomenon that you'd like to think started beforehand but which has at least accelerated
since the events of September 11th is the search for entertainment that's actually about something. The
next time you're in the video store, and the concept of watching the latest explosion fest or inane
comedy is unimaginable, try to find The Tao of Steve, it's well worth your effort.GRADE : B-"
Doing Stuff is Overrated...
Hansol Lee | 01/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"But this movie certainly wasn't. A huge hit at last year's Sundance Festival, Tao of Steve totally lived up to the hype. The script is very funny and well-written -- dialogues are a bit Kevin Smith-esque, but more genuine and less over-the-top. Jokes work because the actors don't sound like they are just reading their lines. Interesting note: I had a chance to attend Q&A session with Jenniphr Goodman (the director/co-writer), Duncan North (real-life Dex/co-writer) and Donal Logue (who plays our slacker lothario to perfection) at the Seattle Film Festival, and apparently very little, if any, of the movie was improvised. Donal said since it was written by "real" people (as opposed to those non-human screenwriters ;) he felt natural saying the lines that were given to him.
Despite a rather predictable ending, "Tao of Steve" is a super fun movie -- something worth keeping around for occasional viewings."
Quite simply a great movie.
Jason C. Vignone | Chicago IL | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best, smartest movies I've ever seen. I've lent it to all my friends and everyone of them has fallen in love with it. I think it catches so much of the dynamic of that late twenties to mid-thirties single crowd. College is over, sure the same tricks work on college girls and unhappy housewives but you've got to grow up eventually.
Such is the story of Dex and Sid. Dex can still reel in the college girls, but come on that's like shooting fish in a barrel. That smart 30 something is a different story. I'm not going to spoil anything here just check it out for yourself.
Some reviewers seem to think it was a movie about frisbee golf, I guess if you didn't get it then the movie was way to smart for you. Who cares how Dex threw the frisbee Stu, Rocky had terrible form in the ring and Mojo didn't play for the Texas State title in 88. Get over it, pretend for a minute you're an adult and try to understand the story.
Anyway, I think you'd be a fool not to watch this movie. In fact buy the movie, buy the soundtrack, embrace the Tao of Steve. If for no other reason than it's the only movie I've ever seen that uses the word solipsistic. Might be hard for a Frisbee Freak to figure out but I'm sure all the grown-ups can kick back and enjoy.
Very Funny Movie!
eurotrashgirl | 03/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the outside, Dex is large, messy, and almost totally unmotivated (he does teach pre-school part-time), yet because of his undeniable cuteness and completely perfected Taoism on Sex and Relationships, he is **completely irresistible** to women. Well, to all the women in the world, except one. Guess Who he falls in love with!The opening credits of ThE TAO oF STeVE are displayed against the spines of philosophy books on a bookshelf, a reference to the many philosophies which have been honed and perfected by Dex, in his quest to become the most irresistible guy possible. His philosophies, culminating in 'The Tao of Steve,' (based on the belief that every "truly cool guy" in the world has been named Steve, most notably Steve McQueen) which instructs its 'disciples' (a couple of Dex's friends who follow Dex's thoughts mainly because he is so damn successful with the ladies, they all agree he must be doing something right!!) to follow three golden rules, basically The Rules but for Men. And the prize isn't marriage and a mortgage, it's Sex. I think the main rule was "We pursue that... which retreats from us." He will say that, do some cute mannerism, then say something like, "Think about it." Hilarious. The first major scene reveals Dex at his best, and, as we'll see, his worst. He's having hot, stand-up sex against a row of library books.... but it's with his friend's wife! (they are having an affair). As the scene pans out, we see that this is taking place during a college reunion while the rest of his friends are outside in the courtyard, milling about, drinks in hand, sun beating down. And we see that there's a girl out there, playing the drums, temporarily unaware of Dex and his current, er, activity. And we'll come to find out that, given a bit of time, and a few tugs on Dex's heart-strings, this not completely unfamiliar woman has got a thing or two to teach our hero... that no book or self-obsessed philosophy could ever accomplish!! It's all uphill from there.... well, you'll see. He might have a chance at True Love!! A lot of the comic force of the movie comes from this look into our habits, and the Garfield-esque slouch which has resulted from Dex having so many bad ones. He's a smart guy, and he does have a conscience -- he knows what he should or shouldn't do... he just can't help himself, and he has no motivation to change. If anything, all these adoring women and fun times have pushed him in the other direction. That is, until he meets Syd, the drummer-girl with the looks, the brains, and the attitude to stop 10 Dex's dead in their tracks. This woman will NOT be played, and she won't settle for a guy whose habits involve eating whipped cream straight from the can (and sharing some with the dog(!)), being habitually late to everything, flirting incessantly with anything in a skirt, and, especially, sleeping with the wife of one of his best friends. So....will true love prevail, and give our Dex the kick in the pants he needs to change his life? To go for the girl, and not just the chase?? Watch this fabulous movie, and see for yourself! (Hint, what's missing in predictability and plot is SO MUCH MORE THAN MADE UP FOR by the natural, glowing presence of the actors, and the amazingly funny dialogue. The director deserves much praise for her ability to create a realistic atmosphere and a warm, familiar mood among her actors. Top notch independent film material, this one.)This is one of the funniest, smartest, natural, giddy, hilarious, classic films I have ever seen! There are so many good lines, I can't even stand it. It was filmed in New Mexico (Santa Fe), and as such the mood is warm, sunny, and light, complete with sunny interiors, patio parties, motorcycles, and desert scenes. At the Seattle International Film Festival, this film had people rolling in the aisles laughing. Rent it, Buy it, whatever... just SEE THIS MOVIE!!You might recognize its rising star, the cutest red-haired round guy I've ever seen, Donal Logue, from his new Fox sitcom, "Grounded For Life." In my opinion, his skills are somewhat wasted in that series, but no matter, I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more of him as time goes on. Enjoy!"