As a woman on the verge of marriage, I must admit that I was quite offended by Miramax Pictures romantic comedy “About Adam,” a movie that had as much romance in it as “Hannibal” had children-friendly scenes. Heck, even my single girlfriend Sarah couldn’t resist turning to me as the ending credits rolled to say, “What the hell was that?”
“About Adam” is a disturbing movie that pretty much caters to the whole “Jerry Springer”/”Temptation Island” fan base. It has incest (or situations close enough to incest), adultery, lies and gives the phrase “love your in-laws” a whole new perspective. However, despite its lack of romance (and laughs for that matter), “About Adam” somehow still managed to entertain.
The movie — which was actually shot before Almost Famous but postponed its release so that Kate Hudson could develop into Kate Hudson mega “it” girl, stars Hudson as a lounge-singing waitress (yes, she pulls a Gwyneth Paltrow) named Lucy who falls madly in love with a customer named Adam (Stewart Townsend). Their relationship seems to take off, and before Lucy’s family knows it, Lucy is proposing to Adam and the two are about to get married.
This is where the film starts to become interesting (or disgusting depending on how you look at it). Writer/director Gerard Stembridge (“Ordinary Decent Criminal”) decides to section off the film into four different episodes, each told by a different character in Lucy’s family (Lucy, her two sisters and her brother) and dealing with their own relationship with Adam. As the episodes overlap, we discover Adam’s secret rendezvous with Lucy’s two sisters (Frances O’Connor and Charlotte Bradley) and the secret affair he had with Lucy’s brother’s girlfriend. Although each episode in the film deals basically with the same given time period — from when Lucy brings Adam home to meet the family until the day she proposes — each section of the film covers this common ground just a bit faster so that at the end of the last episode we are just days away from the wedding. I won’t tell you whether or not these two lovebirds get hitched, but let’s just say the ending is the perfect conclusion to this twisted romance.
Stembridge weaves an interesting story — disturbing as it is — and leaves few holes in the main plotline. Stembridge plants the clues needed for the film to be believable at the start with Lucy’s version of what happened, so that when a new instance pops up in the storyline, viewers find it believable.
As for the cast, Kate Hudson shines even moreso than her Golden Globe Award-winning performance in Almost Famous. Hudson had star potential even in this early film, and it shows. Frances O’Connor, who plays Lucy’s neurotic sister Laura, is delightful as well, and plays her part with perfection. In fact, the casting director’s only flaw in “About Adam” comes from Adam himself. At times Stewart Townsend plays the role of Adam marvelously, coming across as the handsome and charming man no woman could resist — but that’s only half of the time. The other half of the film Townsend comes across as creepy and child-molester-like, causing audiences to wonder what in the world the three main ladies in the film could ever see in him. For a role like this to come across as believable viewers need to fall madly in love with the main character as well, so that no matter what he does, we can dismiss it because he is “cute” and “perfect.” Townsend, however, fails to do this, and this could be one of the main reasons the film is more scary and twisted than romantic and funny.
“About Adam” may not be the hilarious, laugh-out-loud comedy it aspires to be, but its wonderful performances by Hudson and O’Connor make the film worth checking out… on video.