Here is one of the freshest romantic comedies of 2000. Dex (Donal Logue) is an overweight kindergarten teacher with a very laid-back lifestyle. He has the reputation of being a ladies' man. He shares a house with four guys who are always asking him for advice. Over the years, Dex has developed a philosophy for scoring with women, which he calls "the Tao of Steve." He's referring to the coolness of movie star Steve McQueen and the TV characters Steve McGarrett (Hawaii Five-O) and Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man). They all project a certain aloofness that makes them very appealing to the opposite sex.

When Dex attends his tenth-year college reunion, several women comment on how much weight he's gained. They also remember sleeping with him. Although Dex tries to charm a young woman working at the bar, he is most taken with Syd (Greer Goodman), a drummer in the band. It turns out that she's a set designer from New York who's working with the Santa Fe Opera for the summer. She's staying with some friends of his. When Dex finally expresses his deep feelings for her, she responds with the surprising news that he slept with her in college and doesn't even remember. In a desperate effort to smooth things out between them, Dex reluctantly accepts her invitation to go on a hiking and camping excursion. This, to put it mildly, is not exactly his cup of tea.

Jenniphr Goodman directs The Tao of Steve with a casual charm that beautifully conveys its offbeat textures and lovable characters. "Whoever is soft and yielding," Lao Tzu said, "is a disciple of life." Like the Master, Dex gives himself up to whatever the moment brings. He's not so busy that he can't honor the small moments of life. In addition, Dex is always relaxed and flexible. He understands one of the key points in Taoist philosophy: "Don't force things." Let them unspool in their own time. Indirection is Dex's metier and always it is accompanied by a dash of humor. As a romantic hero, this character is endearing — especially when he gives up the chauvinistic aspects of his approach to women. Syd tutors him in the dynamics of true love and he proves to be a willing student.