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What About Adam? Review
Stuart Macdonald finds that in the end we learn nothing about Adam except that he drives a flash car and beds even flasher women.

About Adam (Ireland) 2001

Gerald Stembridge (Writer/Director)
Kate Hudson, Stuart Townsend, Frances O'Connnor

As the opening gambit to this year's Celtic Film Festival, this film was badly misplaced. It is about as Celtic as those irritating Irish theme bars which seem to have sprung up on every street corner in every town across the globe. Every Mulligan's and O'Reilly's is certain to be jam packed with people whose sole claim to Irishness is having once drunk some green beer and belted out 'Whisky in a Jar'. The same dubious authenticity surrounds the cosmopolitan cast of About Adam, which boasts amongst its leading lights an American (Kate Hudson - Almost Famous; 200 Cigarettes) and an Australian (Frances O'Connor - Mansfield Park and the upcoming AI). However, if you are able to ignore minor quibbles such as the questionable accents and occasionally weak plot, then the film does reveal a certain charm.

Gerald Stembridge's (Ordinary Decent Criminal and Nora) debut as writer and director is certainly not great cinema, but it is at least fast-paced and entertaining. If all that you crave is some light-hearted distraction, then this film delivers in a witty and amusing manner. There is little here for the film purist, however, as Stembridge seems happier to duck any of the potentially interesting moral issues which the film produces and instead toes the mainstream line.

Yet, most punters will respond to the clever multiple storylines (à la Traffic and Run Lola, Run!) and Stuart Townsend's competent portrayal of the malleable character of Adam. Hudson is bubbly in spite of her stereotypical character, who is the youngest of three sisters and crucially the first to meet and fall for Adam. As the story progresses, each sister falls in turn for the chameleon-esque charmer, with the same sequence of events being replayed from each of the sister's perspectives. Stembridge exploits much of the comic potential which his situations present, yet the film suffers from his refusal to tackle the morals of the duplicitous sisters and also the motivations behind the character of Adam, which remain a mystery.

The script could have asked much more of its undoubtedly talented cast and although O'Connor gives the most creditable performance as the poetry obsessed middle sister, you feel slightly disappointed at the dull conclusion. As a piece of Celtic cinema this ranks up there alongside Brigadoon, yet although we are never really told that much about Adam except that he drives a flash car and beds even flasher women, the film is highly enjoyable. Like those annoying Irish bars, About Adam has a cheeky knack of growing on you after a while.

© Stuart Macdonald 2001

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