Two Lovers’ Comic Collisions

Two Lovers’ Comic Collisions

Potential New Festival break-out co-stars Parker Posey as gal pal

Adam and Steve are the two young title characters, played by Craig Chester and Malcolm Gets, in a film that starts at Danceteria, the legendary nightclub and celebrity hangout that was considered one of the hippest venues in the 1980s for young gay men looking to party.

After a night of dancing and snorting cocaine, Adam and Steve go home together, but the one-night stand comes to an unexpected conclusion. It was Adam’s over-eating buddy, Rhonda, played by Parker Posey, who coaxes him into hooking up with slutty Steve, and in the wake of the encounter, Adam, an awkward goth high school kid who snorts cocaine for the first time that night, embarks on a decade-long odyssey into alcohol and drug abuse.

Eventually, Adam winds up in a 12-step program and on an equally disastrous night 15 years later, meets Steve in an emergency room, where neither recognizes the other from that embarrassing night in 1987. Steve is a successful psychiatrist who cannot have a monogamous relationship. Freeloading, stoner, straight buddy Michael (“Saturday Night Live” alumnus Chris Kattan), who has crashed on his sofa for five years, is the only constant in Steve’s life.

Adam’s life—beyond his A.A. meetings, a dog and Rhonda, whose now svelte figure undermines her stand-up comedy routine of fat jokes—is every bit as mundane as Steve’s. Such is the backdrop for the raucous, rocky romance that is at the heart of “Adam and Steve.”

The stellar cast includes Julie Hagerty, Melinda Dillon, Jackie Beat, Mario Diaz and Sally Kirkland, with an appearance by the Dazzle Dancers. The musical score by Imperial Teen’s Roddy Bottum is enriched with an original ballad performed by Courtney Love during a montage of gay-bashing.

Chester, who adapted the script from his novel of the same title, is promoting the film at various film festivals nationwide and in Europe. With what is truly a comic classic under his arm, hopes are high that a mass-market distributor will pick up “Adam and Steve.”

Chester’s labor of love has all the ingredients of a John Waters-style breakout smash. With his heart manically patched on his sleeve, Chester is an accomplished comic actor who conveys chapters of material in a single facial twitch, a half-hearted smile or a stub of the toe. He reveals both Adam’s limiting, self-deprecating fear of unconditional love and his unlimited capacity to give it, keeping the audience in a roar of laughter with classic slapstick. His performance is unmatched—and evokes reactions one expects from vehicles starring Jim Carey, Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, going all the way back to Charlie Chaplin. Chester’s Rock Hudson to Posey’s Doris Day is why films get made. The two are longtime friends in life and in this story; they know each other so well, their performances are perhaps more re-enacting than they are acting.