May 19, 2006
God did make
Then they meet,
“God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” goes the rather sophomoric attempt at witticism by anti-gays.
God may have made Adam and Eve, but Craig Chester made the upcoming theatrical release Adam & Steve, the perfect mix of There’s Something About Mary, Jeffrey and any romantic comedy with either Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock, only, of course, without either of them.
Backed by the producers of the gay Mormon story Latter Days, Adam & Steve also touches on religion but it’s an aside, not a major aspect as it is in the earlier film.
The movie starts in the mid-80s, when a goth boy and his chubby female friend go to a dance club only to be met with the horrifying realization that it is not goth night.
As Animotion’s song “Obsession” plays, one of the Dazzle Dancer go-go boys onstage begins to flirt with the goth boy. After a bump of cocaine and the chubby friend’s timely exit, they go back to his apartment, where it becomes evident that the cocaine was cut with . . . well . . . baby laxative. It’s not pretty.
Fast forward the better part of 20 years, and meet Adam (Craig Chester, who played Leopold in Swoon), a nice Jewish boy with luck that would make Job become a Satanist. The guy is a mess, so distracted that he accidentally stabs his long-suffering dog while trying to slice some sopressata.
Rushing the pooch to the nearest hospital, Adam shrieks until the psychiatrist on duty, Steve (Malcolm Gets), comes out and helps him. Steve can’t help feeling like he’s met Adam before, but he puts it out of his mind until he starts seeing Adam everywhere.
After a few false starts, mistaking other thin men with shaggy dogs for Adam, Steve sees the object of his affection tackling a crazed gun-toting survivalist in Central Park. Steve calls 911, then asks Adam out for a date.
Meanwhile, the chubby Rhonda (Parker Posey) became a comedian and lost weight. Unfortunately, her act still revolves around being fat. Every joke refers to girth she no longer has, leaving audiences at the comedy club as amused as if they were watching paint grow or grass dry.
Mirroring Rhonda and Adam’s friendship is the support provided to Steve by his roommate Michael (Chris Kattan)--okay, perhaps “roommate” is overstating the situation. Michael asked if he could crash on Steve’s couch for one night and has been there for five years.
“Support” might also be an exaggeration, too, since the hetero Michael is entranced by the random, anonymous sex that Steve has, wishing only that women were as forward as gay men.
As the love between Steve and Adam blossoms, Rhonda and Michael begin dating. This becomes the force that keeps the two gay men together when Steve realizes that Adam is the goth boy in front of whom he became incontinent two decades ago.
There are brief appearances by Sally Kirkland as the leader of Adam’s crack cocaine 12-step program and Julie Hagerty (Airplane!) with the remarkably well-preserved Paul Sand as Adam’s parents. These round out the sublime absurdity of the film, which includes a country-western dance number reminiscent of a similar one in Jeffrey and the inexplicable musical interludes in Bollywood films.
As Chester’s freshman directing effort, and also his first turn as feature writer, the movie is remarkably witty and decidedly well-done. The humor may be a bit broad for some, and the references to the ’80s may go a bit over the heads of some younger audience members, but it’s a solid film from start to finish.
In fact, it might only be in the finish that the film needs any work. It suddenly veers from its head-on humor into a more demure tone, but only for the last few minutes.
It’s a distinct change from the more serious tone of Funny Boy Films’ Latter Days, which was very West Coast and was skewed for the 20-something crowd. Adam & Steve is nothing if not New York, and definitely was written for men in their 30s and 40s, although its appeal should exceed that age range.