About Adam: Sexy Romantic Comedy Starring Kate Hudson

As strange as it may sound, About Adam, Gerard Stembridge’s sexy romantic comedy, could be described as a cross between Pasolini’s Teorema and Mike Newell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral. A new, extremely appealing actor, Stuart Townsend, who’s far more erotic than Hugh Grant, dominates this amoral Irish yarn about a dashing lad who effortlessly and joyously courts and beds the members of an entire family to the benefit of all concerned.

Exuding charm in the manner of Brit comedies, and resembling in its episodic structure Four Weddings, this Irish production may be too modest to create big waves in the American scene, but a savvy marketing campaign should help Miramax score among young and hip urban crowds, with better results in foreign markets, particularly English-speaking ones.

Writer-director Stembridge plays with shifting perspectives in a fresh manner that defies expectations of the often-used romantic genre. Brightly observed narrative centers on the Owens, a modern Irish family whose stable existence is turned upside-down when a mysterious charmer named Adam (Townsend) suddenly enters into their lives. Scripter takes the thematic conventions of sexual desire and family betrayal, which in most films are used moralistically with punitive measures for those engaged, and explores them in a humorously healthy and positive way: No one in About Adam is blamed or judged for his/her treacherous conduct.

On a typical night in a trendy Dublin restaurant, Lucy Owens (Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn’s daughter) goes about her usual routine of singing torch songs, waiting tables–and complaining about rotten luck in love. Unexpectedly, a handsome stranger named Adam walks into the place. One look is exchanged and the waitress’s heart is melting. Tired of her string of short-term boyfriends, Lucy commits to marry Adam without knowing anything about him.

The duo go on dates and their romance heats up, but Adam proves unpredictable, to say the least. Before long, his magnetism conquers the affections of Lucy’s entire family, including her sisters and mother. The three Chekhovian sisters are vastly different: The middle one, Laura (Mansfield Park’s Frances O’Connor), is a bookish woman whose love for poetry serves as romantic impetus. Eldest, elegant sis Alice (Charlotte Bradley) is resistant at first, but she too succumbs to Adam’s appeal.

In one of the film’s funniest moment, Adam visits the Owens’ son, David (Alan Maher), and his wife. When he leaves their house the next morning after a rainstorm, he has caused the very heterosexual David an erection and has possibly slept with his wife.

As scripter and helmer, Stembridge finds a buoyant structure for his comic confection. Tale is divided into chapters, each told from the subjective P.O.V. of their respective protagonists, which raises the issues of authenticity and credibility. Unlike Four Weddings, which ultimately was moralistic and conservative in its message–marriage equals maturity and responsibility while singlehood is a temporary, undesirable phase–About Adam is a frolic free of any judgments. Stembridge’s sparkling wit results in a delightfully swift and literate ensemble picture, propelled by talent behind and in front the camera.

Townsend, who physically resembles the young Terence Stamp of the Teorema and The Collector era, is perfectly cast as the dark, spirited outsider whose romantic hijinks turns the bourgeois lives of the Owens household upside-down. With some luck, he may follow in Hugh Grant’s footsteps and emerge as a hot male discovery. Rest of what’s mostly a female-dominated cast is equally deft and attractive.

Stylish look and lavish settings and costumes, a product of gifted lenser Bruno De Keyser, designer Fiona Daly and costumer Eimear Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, convey a very different impression of contempo Dublin from that imparted in most Irish films.

Cast

Adam……….Stuart Townsend
Lucy…………..Kate Hudson
Laura……..Frances O’Connor
Alice…….Charlotte Bradley
Peggy……..Rosaleen Linehan
Simon………..Tommy Tiernan
David…………..Alan Maher
Martin……..Brendan Dempsey
Karen……..Cathleen Bradley
Prof. McCormick…Roger Gregg