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Monday, May 01, 2006

Adam & Steve

Movie review by Duane Simolke, author of the West Texas fiction collection The Acorn Stories, for This Week In Texas.

Adam & Steve gives a decidedly gay and decidedly irreverent twist to the romantic comedy. Obviously and defiantly mocking anti-gay clich├ęs with the title, writer/director/star Craig Chester delivers an enjoyable tale of budding love.

The film’s opening sequence, set in the 1980s, is tedious and unfunny, ending with a gross-out scene. Fortunately, the movie gets better when it jumps to the present, and it keeps getting better.

By the time Adam and Steve fall in love with each other, audiences will fall in love with them as well. The scene where the two lovers confront a gay-basher makes this comedy worth the price of admission. However, it offers much more.

Good casting propels the story. Malcolm Gets stars as the Steve who wins the heart of Adam (Craig Chester). Both actors are openly gay and play reluctant, nervous lovers convincingly. In a role that takes advantage of his goofy appeal, Chris Kattan of Saturday Night Live plays Michael, Steve’s straight roommate. Michael seems fine with Steve’s sexual orientation until Steve falls in love, but then acts betrayed. Indie film queen Parker Posey is Adam’s best friend, Rhonda; not surprisingly, she plays the gay-friendly gal pal with charm. Julie Hagerty has a small but amusing role as one of the members of Adam’s supposedly cursed family.

Part of the movie’s strength comes from how it shows that people can be such a contradiction and so self-defeating. For example, a nameless twink (Noah Segan) keeps making the most profound observations about people he barely knows, yet he seems totally shallow in every other respect. In the same way, Rhonda is funny and likeable with her friends, but bland and humorless in her attempts at stand-up comedy. Most of all, though, Adam and Steve keep failing to see how perfect they are for each other, while letting their fear of imperfections threaten their relationship.