Some subjects lend themselves better to comedy than tragedy. Unfortunately, director Anne Fontaine seems to have missed this essential fact. Her new movie Adore is a pathetic attempt to turn the Lonely Island video “Motherlover” into a striking romantic drama. Where Andy Samberg made easy farce, Fontaine fails miserably to create good film.
Adore is the story of two beautiful middle aged best friends (Naomi Watts and Robin Wright) who enter relationships with each other’s dull Abercrombie & Fitch-model sons (Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville), also best friends. Set in an Australian beach paradise, mothers and sons/motherlovers swim, surf, exchange longing glances, and make love. Imagine the idiotic setup for some dismal late-night HBO softcore with MILF in the title extended for thirty minutes—this is the first third of the film. Next comes a superficial attempt at moral conflict: “Gee, maybe I shouldn’t sleep with my best friend’s mom/son—but gosh, I just love sex.” The third portion of the film reveals the uninteresting result everyone saw coming—this was never going to work out. Big surprise! Apparently Fontaine, however, mistakes this moment for “compelling drama.” In reality, Adore leaves the audience impatiently waiting forty minutes for the inevitable implosion.
The performances are shallow, the dialogue trite, the plot predictable. Adore’s only remotely redemptive quality is the collection of beautiful shots, but there the credit goes to New South Wales, not to anyone involved in the film’s production. Really, the only reason to see Adore is its taboo premise. Unfortunately, those looking for the fascinatingly perverse will come away disappointed. Andy Samberg took the “motherlover” concept to the only place it belongs: the world of the absurdly comedic. Anything else, especially Adore, is trash.