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Although they met in the 1980s after a monumentally disastrous one night stand, Adam (writer/director Craig Chester) and Steve (Malcolm Gets) don't recognize each other when they hook up again 15 years later. With the help of their best friends, formerly obese stand up comic Rhonda (Parker Posey) and straight guy ladies man Michael (Chris Kattan), the two men finally fall in love, only to realize—a year into their relationship—that they have met before and unwittingly changed the course of each other's lives. Chester's irreverent romantic comedy co-stars Sally Kirkland, Melinda Dillon, Paul Sand and Julie Hagerty.

 Adam & Steve

I got the idea for Adam & Steve after a rather painful breakup. I was in my mid-thirties and confused as to why it seemed neither me nor my other friends could sustain a lasting romantic relationship.

At the time, I was re-reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth and I began to think about the importance of mythology in everyday life. Growing up, I learned of romantic love through movies. Casablanca, The Way We Were, When Harry Met Sally. I watched these movies and like any audience member, dutifully superimposed myself over the main characters. I thoughtlessly imagined myself as one half of every movie couple I saw. As I got older, I began to realize that those images could only satisfy me to a point. I was not a woman in love with a straight man or the other way around. I was gay. And I realized I had no images of male intimacy, aside from always-plentiful porn.

Gay cinema has often been about dark desires, longing for the unattainable go-go boy or unavailable straight guy, but rarely about actually being in a relationship. The gay filmmakers that made these films were often in loving relationships. So was I. Yet we didn’t make movies about them. ‘The love that dare not speak its name,’ indeed, I began to think.

I wanted to make my relationship movie a comedy. In doing so, I wanted to recapture a sense of irreverence that seems lost in the independent film community of today. So many filmmakers strive to co-opt John Cassavetes, but why is no one sampling John Waters? Didn’t he start this whole independent film thing too? Or early Woody Allen?

Comedy is very hard. Much harder to pull off than most dramas. Comedy is, in essence, anti-establishment. Comedy is anarchy. I loved the comic anarchy of Pink Flamingos, the shameless slapstick of Love and Death. I knew this kind of comedy would allow me to say what I wanted, to be really creative with the story and subject matter.

The process of combining comic irreverence with a reverent love story was a challenge. Adam & Steve has gross-out humor but it also has big emotions. It does not take itself seriously and is intended to be a middle finger to a certain kind of pretense. I wanted to make a fun, silly, accessible, go-for-the-joke movie, something shameless, cornball, smart and iconic. I wanted people to laugh but I also wanted them to love the characters.

Through irreverent comedy I could make a point about a gay love relationship that would not seem preachy or precious. The comedy would also allow the audience to relax and be receptive to the plights of my protagonists, Adam—a recovering alcoholic, and Steve—a sex addict. I wanted to tackle certain issues but not make it too heavy-handed. In my movie, I make fun of gays. I make fun of straights. I make fun of romance. I make fun of these things while at the same time paying homage to them. This gives the movie its unique tone.

Ultimately, I think Adam & Steve is a movie about movies. If I learned about love through the mythology of heterosexual romances, I believe gay people need their romantic myths too, for how does one love without love stories? It stems out of my rejection of cynicism. With age and experience, I no longer feel the need to define myself solely as an outsider, a victim. Even more so, I think audiences are tired of carrying the ‘queer cross of martyrdom’ as they leave theaters. Some viewers have said Adam & Steve makes them open to the idea of love, that it makes them feel romantically optimistic. In the era of the ‘jaded queer in love with longing,’ that statement just might be as subversive as a drag queen eating dog shit in Baltimore.