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Movie Review

About Adam

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Directed by Gerard Stembridge, starring Stuart Townsend, Frances O'Connor, Charlotte Bradley, Kate Hudson, Alan Maher and Rosaleen Lenihan.

It had to happen someday. Someone finally had to look beyond a lens and realise that the middle class also had homes and lives in Dublin. Someone had to make a film that didn't make the city look like it had been bulldozed down a deprivation cul-de-sac by the location police and then populated with characters from central casting. That it took so long is remarkable, that the someone in question pulls it off with such grace and wit is greater still. Gerard Stembridge, take a bow - a long one.

'About Adam' is a romantic comedy, but not in the hideous, saccharine, glamour puss sense that America has carpet-bombed the world with. It's smart, it knows its audience can join dots and walk upright at the same time and, it actually makes you think about - and not just laugh at - the messes that people get themselves in over four letters. It follows man about town and bedroom Adam (Townsend) as he works his way through the sisters in the Owen's family: flighty Lucy (Hudson), bookish Laura (O'Connor) and weary Alice (Bradley), presenting different faces to them all. Or is the joke the other way round? Is Adam just a vehicle (literally - wait until you see how hung up everyone gets about his car) for three women to figure out where they really want to go? Through a giddy looping narrative, Stembridge presents each woman's encounters with Adam, going over the same events from three different passions and perspectives. It's a device made for failure (witness 'Jackie Brown' and 'Hilary and Jackie'), but here each narrative plays just like the siblings' whispered secrets, always adding something new and increasing your appreciation for the action that went before. If you're not guessing how long anyone's luck can last then you're guessing just what one person knows and the other doesn't.

Townsend maybe wink perfect as the sallow charmer, but the real stars here are the sisters: Hudson (an American) and O'Connor (an Australian) producing 'th' perfect Dublin accents and Bradley mastering that coffee morning mix of sublimated longing and suburban ennui. Backed by the comedic talents of Lenihan (the doting mother who mightn't be adverse to a bit of cradle snatching) and Maher (the hapless younger brother who develops strange 'feelings' for Adam) this is the funniest cast in an Irish movie in quite some time. At last, the boom has given us something to smile about.

Harry Guerin

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