For gay New Yorker Adam (Craig Chester), a lot can change in 17 years. The clubs he would strut through with cigarette in hand are now smoke-free. The skyline he once admired from the Brooklyn Bridge is now without its Twin Towers. And, after a cocaine-fueled one-night stand left him -- and his floors -- a complete mess, Adam, too, is not the same as he once was.
Written and directed by Chester, ''Adam & Steve" follows former goth Adam and dancer-turned-doctor Steve (Malcolm Gets) as they attempt to start a meaningful relationship without realizing they've met in 1987 under less desirable circumstances.
Adam is still recovering from a drug addiction spawned from his first ''bump" of coke that fateful night. Steve is now an obsessive-compulsive with commitment issues. You may remember Gets as sharp-tongued colorist Richard on ''Caroline in the City," who transformed from pretentious aspiring painter to doting love interest over the course of the series.
He makes a similar turn here early in the movie, realizing, ''Maybe I'm tired of one hot sexual encounter after another. Maybe I want to find out what it's like to have OK sex with the same person on a regular basis." The film does its best to portray their post-Sept. 11 New York romance without taking itself too seriously.
The two are joined by their pals, formerly fat comedian Rhonda (a hilarious Parker Posey) and Steve's roommate Michael (a butched-up Chris Kattan). Posey supplies some of the funniest lines in the movie (''I'm sweating like Whitney Houston going through customs!"), and each scene could benefit from having a little more of her in it.
Despite Chester's history as a veteran of New Queer Cinema (including work in such edgy indie flicks as ''Swoon" and ''Frisk"), ''Adam & Steve" isn't groundbreaking material, settling instead for a grab bag of sight gags, toilet humor, and pop culture references.
Still, the movie does address many of the issues facing gay couples with as much dignity as any romantic comedy could allow. There are enough universal laughs -- both meeting-the-parents scenes are hysterically uncomfortable, as is Adam's realized fear that every time he and a lover share public affection, guys from New Jersey hurl beer bottles at him.
The downside of this strategy is that for every shtick that works, there are two that don't. ''Adam & Steve" is not the knee-slapper it wants to be, but it's endearing nonetheless.
Bobby Hankinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.