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'Adam and Steve'

Though flawed in the way of so many romantic comedies (i.e., much weaker with the romance than with the comedy), writer-director Craig Chester's debut is truly enjoyable. Lighthearted and funny, it falters only in the rare moments when it takes itself too seriously. The film opens in the late '80s, when protagonist Adam (played by Chester) is a shy, self-loathing goth whose best friend is a fat-suited Parker Posey. Flash-forward 17 years, and both are still single and self-sabotaging. Then Adam meets Steve (Malcolm Gets) and begins a monogamous relationship with all the usual trappings: musical montage, overwritten flirtation, and lifelong neuroses miraculously resolved. But Chester has found a tone that's both knowing and sweet, ironic and heartfelt; he places his characters in cringingly compromising positions, but never condescends to them. The result is a maturity that transcends the movie's silly notions of romance.


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