Steve began his career as a director and writer of the 1987 indie movie 'Smart Alex,' in which he played the title role. In 1989, he appeared as himself in an episode of the ‘ABC’ sitcom 'Full House.' He established the entertainment company 'O Entertainment' the following year.
He was a co-writer (with Robert Kuhn) of the 1991 independent comedy movie 'High Strung.' The movie also featured him as the protagonist, 'Thane Furrows.' The movie also starred Jim Carrey, with whom Steve eventually developed a long-term professional relationship.
The two had initially collaborated on the 'Fox' sketch-comedy series 'In Living Color' during the 1990s. Steve and Carrey united again for Tom Shadyac's debut film, the 1994 comedy 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.' Steve had joined the crew as a project consultant.
The film was a massive box-office success and prompted Steve and Carrey to come together for the sequel, 'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,' released in 1995. The sequel was more successful than the first instalment. Steve directed and wrote the movie, since Shadyac had quit the project.
Despite the success of the 'Ace Ventura' franchise, Steve and Carrey parted ways later, as they got involved in different projects. They, however, remained close friends.
Following this, Steve wrote the Eddie Murphy-starrer 1996 slapstick comedy film 'The Nutty Professor.' Directed by Shadyac, the movie was one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
He made a cameo appearance as a security guard named 'Baxter’ in the 1997 buddy action–comedy film 'Nothing to Lose.' Steve wrote and directed the movie. That year, he also directed, wrote, and produced the ‘NBC’ variety special 'The O Show' (also known as 'steve.oedekerk.com') for 'O Entertainment.'
Following this, Steve took a break from directing movies for a few years. He, however, continued to write and produce movies such as the Robin Williams-starrer 1998 semi-biographical comedy–drama 'Patch Adams'; the 2000 sequel to 'The Nutty Professor,' 'Nutty Professor II: The Klumps'; and the 2001 computer-animated science-fiction film (only story).
'Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius' brought Steve his first 'Academy Award' nomination, in the 'Best Animated Feature' category.
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Meanwhile, he created 'Thumbs!,' which was a collection of his 'O Entertainment' short films. He extensively used the 'Thumbation' technology, too, which combined live-action thumbs and superimposition of the faces of voice actors. He also lent his voice to various characters in the movies from the collection.
Steve wrote, directed, and appeared in 'The Chosen One' in the 2002 martial-arts comedy 'Kung Pow: Enter the Fist,' a comical dig at Hong Kong’s action cinema. He wrote the half-hour computer-animated film 'Santa vs. the Snowman 3D.' An 'O Entertainment' production, the movie starred Steve as 'Sno' Hellton.'
From 2001 to 2007, he served as the executive producer of the ‘NBC’ crime drama 'Crossing Jordan.' He also worked as an executive producer for the 'Nickelodeon' animated series 'The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,' based on the 2001 ‘Jimmy Neutron’ film.
He collaborated again with Shadyac and Carrey in the 2003 fantasy–comedy film 'Bruce Almighty.' Steve worked as a writer and executive producer for the film. He then directed, wrote, and produced the 2006 computer-animated comedy film 'Barnyard' in which he voiced various characters, such as'Snotty Boy,' 'Randall Beady,' and one of the pizza twins. It was the first project of his production house's animation division, 'Omation Animation Studios,' established in 2002.
The Shadyac–Steve duo returned in the 2007 spin-off of 'Bruce Almighty,' 'Evan Almighty.' From 2007 to 2017, he voiced various characters in the TV spin-off of the 2006 film, 'Barnyard,' titled 'Back at the Barnyard,' aired on 'Nickelodeon.'
He penned the story of the 2011 science-fiction Western film 'Cowboys & Aliens,' based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. He worked as a writer, executive producer, and co-creator of the animated series 'Planet Sheen,' the second spin-off of 'Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.'
Steve was roped in as the screenplay writer for a film adaptation of 'Ripley's Believe It or Not!,' with Carrey in the title role. However, no news regarding the development of the project has been reported since then.
In February 2009, 'Universal Pictures' announced he was to write a film based on the superhero doll ‘Stretch Armstrong.’ The project is still in the pipeline, while the team has started working on its animated series.
In 2015, a sequel to 'Kung Pow' was announced, with Steve as its writer and director.