Throughout his short, relatively successful career Hugh Dancy has made a name for himself by playing different versions of the same character over and over again. They are all sweet, adorable little things who speak softly and only have your best interests at heart. Here he tries to break out of that rut by partaking in one of Hollywood’s more odious rites of passage for budding serious actors: playing a mentally challenged person.
He does a perfectly fine job of playing Adam a 29-year-old Manhattanite who also happens to have Asperger syndrome (a form of Autism as they explain in the film), but he does nothing in terms of making this character not sweet, adorable and/or soft spoken. Dancy has always seemed to be a warm, generous person who deserves a long and lucrative acting career, but watching him jump through this particular hoop in the name of obtaining that goal is rather depressing.
Adam essentially tells the story of two people who have to learn to grow up and overcome each other’s flaws so that their relationship can work. His other half in this case is Beth (Rose Byrne), an aspiring children’s author who is all wide-eyed and innocent, despite the fact that her dad (Peter Gallagher) is a slick talking business type who is trying to marry her off to an investment banker (are we in India now?). Byrne is well cast and it is comforting to see that she can excel at something other than playing her career obsessed lawyer in Damages.
The first half of the film is quite weak as it invites you to an overwrought pity party where one indignity after another is piled on top of Adam. He loses his job, the NYPD accuses him of being a child molester, and he asks Beth if he makes her wet with desire. Luckily director Max Mayer has the wherewithal to self correct before the whole thing is sucked into the black hole that is shameless tear jerking territory. From there the film starts dealing with real problems that are faced by real people, something romantic comedies in general could do a lot more of.
Their first few times out on the town together are disastrous as Adam and his condition combine to embarrass Beth. In one very funny scene Adam accidentally slaps back against a new mother who is trying to engage everybody in her ego trip. More damaging for the relationship though is when he asks Beth’s father a rather pertinent question about his upcoming corporate fraud trial. He has no idea that he was being impolite and Beth, being an overly sensitive female, throws a shit fit and we witness the first of many fights to be chronicled here. But while Mayer has no qualms about showing the ugly side of human relationships and the way that they go bad he shies away from lust and vice and practically has them whitewashed off the screen. A few characters are outed as cheaters but that is only so that we know that they are lower human beings than the rest of us.
The market these days is rife with cheap Woody Allen knockoffs wherein people get together and talk and crack wise and deal with life. So with that in mind it probably isn’t a stretch to suggest that Asperger syndrome is employed as a gimmick to sneak this small film into a few theatres. Unfortunately though it includes no explosions, car chases or stuntmen (sorry) thus meaning that at its high point it was only in 177 theatres simultaneously. It did OK for itself ($2.2 million) and now that it is arriving on DVD people will be more inclined to give it a look see. What they will find is a quiet little film that has a few lightweight laughs and decently manufactured melodrama surrounded by a lot of filler.
DVD Special Features:
Commentary with director Max Mayer and producer Leslie Urdang
Deleted and Alternative Scenes with optional commentary
Behind the Scenes Look at the creation of Adam
Life After Film School with Rose Byrne (from the Fox Movie Channel)
Starring: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving
Director: Max Mayer
Runtime: 99 minutes
Danielle Panabaker's Top Pop Picks
"I'm really into the Avett Brothers as of late."
"My girlfriends are I - we are very nerdy. We started a book club and the first book we read was Gone Girl."
"I thought it was a great film and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was incredible, you know those angry tears, I've certainly experienced that."
Most Popular Videos
- Jane Lynch And Craig Robinson Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Adrien Brody Video Interview On Judging The Bombay Sapphire Imagination Film Series, Playing Houdini
- Thandie Newton Video Interview On 'Rogue,' Learning To Shoot A Gun
- George Lopez Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Kevin Smith Video Interview On His New Book, 'Tough Sh*t,' Mitt Romeny, Bruce Willis
Top Comedy Videos
Sex & Sci-Fi: Summer's Hottest Movies & Men - Your Tango
- Celebrity Sex Talk: 6 Craziest Things Heard This Week - Your Tango
- ‘Spring Breakers’ Review: The 10 Most Depraved, Parent-Shocking Moments - MovieFone
- 10 Hot Hollywood Husbands Changing The World - Your Tango
- Taylor Swift Cozying Up With Harry Styles - PlanetFashionTV