She is winsome, witty and wounded, an elementary school teacher who comes from money.
He is brilliant, focused and neat, a good-looking guy who lives downstairs.
Fresh off heartbreak, she is still open to possibilities. He has lost his dad, but that's not why he can't make eye contact, why he's compulsively honest and why he prattles on about space.
"I talk too much when I get excited," he admits.
Might love be in the cards for Beth and Adam? It might be if you know your Hollywood romance formulas. Adam is As Good as It Gets with a dash of Rain Man, movie comfort food, but still charms us through the familiar rhythms of its story.
The disorder in the way of this budding romance is Aspberger Syndrome, "on the autism spectrum," the school principal tells Beth (Rose Byrne). "Mind blindness" is how Adam describes his inability to pick up social signals.
But something in Adam (Hugh Dancy) touches Beth. It's not quite pity and much more than curiosity. He struggles to grasp the concept "girlfriend." He takes coaching (Frankie Faison is an old friend who offers love lessons) and, in his own way, turns on the charm.
Byrne, of Knowing and TV's Damages, let's Beth's empathy rise out of her sense of humor. Beth indulges the tactless Adam because a guy who has turned his living room into a planetarium and who knows where the raccoons live in Central Park is magical. Dancy deftly plays Adam's inability to distinguish between dependency and love, but who picks up social skills from Beth -- like the ability to tell a joke. She buys him chocolates.
"I'm not Forrest Gump, you know."
Writer-director Max Mayer cut his teeth directing TV (Family Law). He hits his emotional marks and balances entertainment with a responsible treatment of Aspberger. Adam is all courtship montages set to music until it finds its brittle, realistic edge.
Adam doesn't like the unexpected, nor does the movie about him. But Adam charms its way through obstacles, just the way a movie romance should. AdamFour out of five starsCast: Hugh Dancy, Rose Bryne, Frankie Faison, Peter Gallagher, Amy IrvingDirector: Max MayerRunning time: 1 hour 39 minutesIndustry rating: PG-13 for thematic material, sexual content and language.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun