Romantic movies have gotten a bad rap in recent years because there have been so many duds. Here are two happy exceptions to that rule.
“”Adam is a sweet film about a young man, played by Hugh Dancy, who’s lived on his own—but now, with the death of his father, has to fend for himself for the first time. He has Asperger’s syndrome, which gives him little control over what he says or how he reacts to people. Fate and serendipity introduce him to a new neighbor in his Manhattan apartment building, an attractive schoolteacher named Beth, played by Rose Byrne. A believable relationship grows between Adam and Beth, in spite of many bumps in the road. He’s trying to be independent, but scared; she’s trying not to allow her understandable caution to prevent her from enjoying the attention, and even love, of a sweet guy like this. Beth’s parents, played by Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving, aren’t so sure she’s made a wise choice. Writer-director Max Mayer dodges the obvious in this quietly charming story filmed on location in New York City. With characters worth rooting for, Adam goes straight for the heart.
“Kissing Jessica Stein” is a modest little movie that’s provocative, original, smart, and funny…qualities that more than take the place of stars and a big budget. Jennifer Westfeldt plays a career woman who finds something wrong with every guy she meets, and has to endure her Jewish mama’s nagging and occasional matchmaking schemes to help her find Mr. Right. Then she meets Heather Juergensen, a sexually adventurous young woman, and before she knows it the two of them are deeply involved. I like this comedy because it isn’t a message movie, or on a crusade for lesbian relationships. It’s just a good story, well told, written by the two women who play the leading roles.
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If you’re tired of clichés, try “Adam” and “Kissing Jessica Stein” and you’ll see that some people still know how to make fresh, appealing movies that deal with romance.
Note: These picks, which start at $0.99, may not be available in all areas. SEE MORE OF LEONARD MALTIN’S PICKS HERE.