About the best that can be said about the title character in About Adam is that he's open. Adam (Stuart Townsend) is open to the attentions of Lucy (Kate Hudson), an Irish waitress and sometime singer in a Dublin cafe; she's attracted to his olive-toned, androgynous beauty, his I'm-all-that grin, and, apparently, his unibrow. One look at the fellow when he walks into her restaurant and she knows he's going to be her grand passion in life. (She's also attracted to his sexy, sky-blue roadster.) Pretty soon the two are engaged. (The three, if you count the car.)
But Adam -- whose working life appears to take up very little of his time -- is also open to Lucy's sister Laura (Frances O'Connor), a studious, intellectual spinster type who is transformed into a sex kitten when he seduces her into removing her spectacles and shaking her dark hair loose. He's open to Lucy's oldest sister, Alice (Charlotte Bradley), who is able to forget about her boorish yuppie husband and squalling children when he ogles her. With very limited conversational skills but with unlimited stamina, Adam is able to create a different story about himself for each woman. For each, he also invents a different story about how he acquired his babe-magnet wheels.
Adam would probably be equally willing to give the sisters' bohemian mum, Peggy (Rosaleen Linehan), a tumble in the hayloft -- but at least we're spared that bit of Enchanted April in Ireland in this calculated, cold, and damply demeaning romantic comedy. For all its ostensible sexiness, for all the prettiness of the sisters' distinctly different fashion choices, and for the pleasure with which fizzy Hudson works at her Irish lilt (she made About Adam before she began work on Almost Famous, where a brogue was unnecessary), the message is an old family formula turned to vinegar by the folks who produced Enchanted April in the first place: A girl -- of any age -- just needs a good shagging to feel beautiful. And who could stay mad for long at a man -- a cute guy with a Backstreet Boy beauty all his own -- so happy to do the honors?
The Dublin created by filmmaker Gerard Stembridge, a respected Irish playwright and stage director, is a playground of generically bright, happy streets, hangouts, and locals. (We believe this is Dublin only because Stembridge says it is; it looks like Contentless-ville.) And with the exception of Peggy, given gay streaks of color by Linehan, the women are generic too, while Adam is more amoral cipher than mystery man.
Lie back, relax, and enjoy it! About Adam suggests with a wink. This is fun, lighten up, it doesn't hurt anybody! (All the sisters eventually laugh good-naturedly and hug the man who's been cheating on them, so grateful are they to get laid.) Flibber- tigibbet fun is what sex comedies are all about!
Not here, not in this cotton-candy story with an acrid aftertaste. On the video box, they can retitle this one Disenchanted Dublin. C-
Starring: Kate Hudson, Stuart Townsend