Fed up with romantic comedies? "Adam & Steve" brings fresh ideas and comic energy to the tired genre. Fed up with romantic comedies? "Adam and Steve" brings fresh ideas and comic energy to the tired genre.
The most subversive aspect of the enjoyably hammy gay comedy "Adam & Steve" is its steadfast refusal to sensationalize the relationship between the title characters.
Whatever hand-wringing they have done about their sexual identities has already happened off-screen. When we meet them, they've accepted who they are, as have their friends and families, and we are expected to get over it pretty fast, too. That's easy enough because they are pleasantly engaging, and their adventures on the road to romance are played with just the right balance of dry wit and comic insecurity.
The result is a kind of gay "Annie Hall," but with more bright-eyed faith in the staying power of true love.
Steve (Malcolm Gets) is a psychiatrist and Adam (Craig Chester, who wrote and directed) guides bird-watchers through Central Park. They meet during a fiasco in which Adam, having accidentally stabbed his beloved dog, bursts into the emergency room of Steve's hospital in a) hysterics and b) his tighty whities. He was in a rush, you see.
Steve is accomplished and conventionally cute. The shambling Adam isn't anyone's ideal mate until he talks, unreeling an irresistible line of neurotic hilarity. What they share is a desire to be in a longterm relationship, amusingly dysfunctional family backgrounds, a fear of commitment, and -- unknown to them -- a mortifying one-night stand in the '80s.
Their courtship riffs entertainingly on romantic comedy clichés, such as the "Lady and the Tramp" moment when they share a long strand of spaghetti. The film's humor is so sharp that you forgive events that have giant flashing lights beside them screaming "Blatant Plot Device."
The leads handle the comic and romantic aspects of their characters with aplomb, while the always-reliable Parker Posey and "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Kattan make a fetching pair of pals to the leads, mirroring the main romance with a crazy-but-perfect courtship of their own. I could have done without the over-the-top cowboy line-dancing finale at which all the boy-loses-boy complications were resolved, but it's hard to begrudge such a charming cast their happy ending.
Rating: Unrated but brief partial nudity and adult language.
Colin Covert 612-673-7186