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With: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker, Haviland Morris, Adam LeFevre, Mike Hodge, Peter O'Hara, John Rothman, Terry Walters, Susan Porro, Maddie Corman, Jeff Hiller
Written by: Max Mayer
Directed by: Max Mayer
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, sexual content and language
Running Time: 99
Date: 01/20/2009

Adam (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Not Like a Box of Chocolates

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Max Mayer's Adam crosses the "disease-of-the-week" genre with the traditional romantic comedy, but miraculously avoids all the trappings of both; it's charming without being cheap, romantic without being rote. Adam (Hugh Dancy) is a handsome young man with Asperger's Syndrome.

He works in a highly technical job making robot voices for toys, studies astronomy as a hobby, and lives in a great Manhattan brownstone. When his father dies, Adam must make the transition to living alone, but he finds he has a much easier time when he meets his new neighbor Beth (Rose Byrne). She thinks he's quirky and interesting, but knows nothing about his actual syndrome. (Adam has a difficult time relating to other people since he can't make sense of things like irony or sarcasm; he relates to everything on a straightforward, fact-based level.)

There's a slight detour into a subplot about Beth's father (Peter Gallagher), who is taken to court for some underhanded accounting, but it only serves to deepen Beth's character. She's not one of those romcom heroines whose entire life revolves around the absence or presence of a man; she comes to life on her own. Likewise, Adam is ultimately defined by his personality rather than by his syndrome, and Mayer even gets some good laughs out of the awkward situation. Amy Irving provides some small, lovely moments as Beth's mother, and Frankie Faison is wonderful as the family friend who occasionally looks after Adam.

DVD Details: Extras on Fox's DVD include a commentary track by director Max Mayer and producer Leslie Urdang, an alternate ending, deleted and alternate scenes, a featurette, and trailers. There's also a TV show in which Rose Byrne chats with three film students.

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