Mary Horowitz (Bullock) is a proud cruciverbalist, the writer of crossword puzzles for the Sacramento Herald newspaper, and a very awkward young woman. Her parents set her up for a date with the eponymous Steve (Cooper), a local newspaper cameraman and she is smitten. After driving him off with over-aggressive sexual advances, and subsequently losing her job in a crossword incident, she decides that Steve is her destiny and begins following him as he pursues the news.
This film demonstrates the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Disorder: Mary shows signs of being on the autistic spectrum, though no diagnosis is ever spoken of.
- Bannister Slide: Mary attempts one after she reaches her Steve epiphany, but slows to a painful halt due to too much friction.
- Blind Date: A Blind Date arranged between Mary and Steve kicks off the main plot.
- Butt-Monkey: Angus (Jeong) is this to the news crew, the butt of their jokes and general gopher.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Mary is very enthusiastic, and tends to forget what's in her way as she pursues Steve.
- Da Editor: Corbitt (David) is the owner of the TV Station that the news team is working for. He threatens to fire them multiple times as he gives his assignments.
- Dissonant Serenity: After some advice from Hughes, Mary tries a calmer approach towards Steve. He mistakes her new-found calm for this trope.
- Genki Girl: Mary hits all the stops, the rapid speech, the unrelenting cheerfulness, flailing arms when she gets excited...
- The Glomp: Mary performs a textbook example on Steve at the hospital, a flying tackle which just barely avoids knocking him over.
- Heel Realization: Hughes has this moment.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Korean Ken Jeong has dialogue indicating that he's Vietnamese although he also curses in Japanese and Mandarin during the movie.
- Reality Ensues: If you're working for a big important news paper, and you send them a crossword puzzle that's unprofessionally all about a man nobody else has heard of, chances are you're going to get fired. Just ask Mary.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mary is prone to this due to her job as a cruciverbalist, also sprinkling in gratuitous foreign languages
- Small Name, Big Ego: Hughes is convinced that he's the next big thing in the news.
- Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male: Hughes (Church) finds the situation hilarious and encourages Mary every chance he gets. Steve is terrified, and convinced that Mary wants to skin him and wear him as a suit. Mary is largely oblivious that her behavior might be considered stalking.
- Title Drop: After the first date, Mary releases a crossword puzzle entitled "All About Steve" where every answer is some aspect of Steve.
- Was It Really Worth It?: Later in the movie, Mary comes to realize that, no, chasing Steve down was not worth losing her job or leaving behind her family or her home. Not one mile she's chased Steve has brought her closer to being his girlfriend than it has brought her to being his stalker.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Played with. While Mary is stalking Steve, the latter mistakenly believes he's in a thriller movie, and that Mary is a psycho who will do horrible things to him if she catches him. In reality, Mary's just an overly zealous girl.