About Adam

2000, Movie, R, 98 mins

Review

ABOUT ADAM
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With its tricky multiple point-of-view flashback structure and its naughty sexual roundelay, it's hard not to characterize this romantic comedy as TEOREMA stripped of its morbid spirituality and given a RASHOMON twist. But that makes it sound awful and pretentious, when it's actually sweet, likable and consistently engaging, if so insubstantial that it's always on the verge of blowing away. The youngest daughter of the close-knit Owens family, effervescent Lucy (Kate Hudson) waitresses at a hip Dublin club where she can also indulge her dreams of singing. A bubble-headed heartbreaker who just can't seem to settle down, Lucy is unexpectedly smitten by Adam (Stuart Townsend), a low-key charmer with an irresistible vintage car and a gift for anticipating her every desire. He's the perfect man for Lucy... The thing is, Lucy isn't the only one he's perfect for. He also charms the pants off bookish middle sister Laura (Frances O'Conner), sharp-tongued eldest Alice (Charlotte Bradley), and the resolutely virginal girlfriend of brother David (Alan Maher) — naughty though it aims to be, the movie doesn't quite have the cojones to have David succumb to Adam's charms as well, though it flirts teasingly with the idea. For that matter, their widowed mom Peggy (Rosaleen Linehan) seems extravagantly fond of her new son-in-law to be; it makes you wonder just how maternal her affections are. The whole set-up suggests a thrillingly mean-spirited thriller like A KISS BEFORE DYING (it's hard to see how all this erotic duplicity isn't going to turn out badly) and the surprise is that there's nothing dark or malicious going on. Adam just likes making women happy — emotionally as well as physically — and has been blessed with a genuine knack for it. Townsend pulls off the unenviable job of making Adam a chameleon-like seducer without allowing him to seem like a cad or a callous sexual opportunist. Writer/director Gerard Stembridge deftly balances genre expectations with just enough stylistic flourishes to make it feel surprisingly fresh. The movie starts to fade from memory as soon as it's over, but for an hour and a half it's a pleasantly diverting lark. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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