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About Adam (2001)

September 20th, 2007 · 1 Comment

“Miramax is brilliant at publicizing its successes, but it’s even more brilliant at burying its failures,” said Dennis Rice, their former president of marketing. Miramax Films was notorious for test screening its movies – often in malls in New Jersey – and barely releasing the ones that scored poorly. Some went straight to video, even those with major stars. Here’s a look at some of the studio’s B-sides, bombs and greatest misses.

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In the Temple Bar district of Dublin, blithe lounge singer and waitress Lucy Owens (Kate Hudson) breaks up with her latest boyfriend, a manic depressive standup comedian. Her sister Laura (Frances O’Connor) is a grad student who lives in a world of books. She reprimands Lucy for going from boyfriend to boyfriend without experiencing “truly great passion.”

This changes when Lucy meets a shy but attentive stranger named Adam (Stuart Townsend). She introduces him to her family on their first date. Lucy’s older sister Alice (Charlotte Bradley) is a new mother and bored housewife. Her brother David (Alan Maher) is miserable because his girlfriend won’t give him any sex. Lucy’s widowed mum (Rosaleen Linehan) brings Adam a cake. Everyone is delighted when Lucy proposes to him.

Jumping back in time, we discover bookworm Laura bonding with Adam over poetry and secretly carrying on an affair with him. David receives help from Adam sorting out his love life, but finds himself sexually attracted to the stranger as well. Alice stays immune to Adam’s charms the longest, but succumbs to him on Lucy’s wedding day. She discovers Adam is a well-intentioned cipher, molding himself to suit whoever is drawn to him.

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Production history
Written and directed by Gerard Stembridge, About Adam played the Sundance Film Festival in January 2000. Miramax set a release for that August, but later pushed the date back. The studio supposedly wanted to wait until Frances O’Connor and Kate Hudson became stars. When Bedazzled and Almost Famous opened poorly, the film debuted January 2001 in Ireland. It was released in the U.S. in May, when audiences missed it if they blinked.

About Adam aspires to be a PG-13 Woody Allen romantic comedy by way of the Liffey. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it is kind of “cute” as it’s playing. I thought the approach of exploring the same events from four different perspectives was novel for a romantic comedy. It’s funny in spots, and I enjoyed watching Frances O’Connor portray an arduous, poetry loving geek who discovers her inner slut. With an Irish brogue to boot.

But the story hinges on the conceit that an entire family would discover tomfoolery on the part of their baby sister’s fiancé, and do nothing. For a tough Irish family, this struck me as science fiction. Stembridge cast his film about as feebly as he wrote it; Stuart Townsend and Kate Hudson are both out of their element. Other than the accents, it’s impossible to tell the film even takes place in Dublin. If you rent this, I recommend disengaging the brain.

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“If it comes on cable and there’s nothing else on, I wouldn’t advise you to flee – but I wouldn’t exactly go and seek this one out, either,” says Need Coffee.

Richard Propes at Independent Critics calls About Adam “basically fluff that is charming, moderately entertaining and easy to let go of in the long run.”

“Overall this film is probably the most enjoyable Rom-Com I have ever seen. In fact it is the only enjoyable Rom-Com I have ever seen. The plot is fairly run of the mill but the narrative flow is inventive and the acting is excellent,” writes Mark Davis at DVD Times.

© Joe Valdez

Tags: Unconventional romance

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Piper // Sep 21, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Joe, I’ve been tuning in every day or so and I gotta say that Miramax has burried some of these movies so well, I’ve never seen them and have never even heard of some of these. But still, I read.

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