"My favorite children's book is about a little prince who came to Earth from a distant asteroid. He meets a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert. The little prince teaches the pilot many things, but mainly about love. My father always told me I was like the little prince, but, after I met Adam, I realised I was the pilot all along."
— Beth Buchwald
Adam Raki is a twenty nine year old man born with Asperger Syndrome
in Manhattan after his father's death. He has difficulties communicating with others, the only real friend he has is his father's old black
war buddy Harlan who is the only one who knows exactly how to deal
with him. Adam works as an electronic engineer at a toy company, and spends his free time indulging his love of space exploration. Beth Buchwald, a school teacher and aspiring children's author, moves into the apartment above his. They meet doing laundry and from there they tentatively begin to form an awkward friendship- that leads to something more. During the movie Beth
has to deal with her father being indicted, facing a jail sentence, and revealing a confronting secret which throws their relationship into turmoil; Adam has to deal with being fired, finding a new job and making his relationship with Beth work.
- Allergic to Love: Adam finds it very difficult to talk to Beth because of his Aspergers.
- All Women Are Lustful: When Beth starts her relationship with Adam, they agree to take it slowly. Two dates later, she decides to have sex with him.
- Archnemesis Dad / Bastard in Sheep's Clothing: A milder version of this trope. Beth's father looks like a stand-up guy, but then his affair and his disapproval of Adam comes out, Beth's mother practically pushes Beth out the door once Adam shows up in order to save her from her deceptive father and so the couple can be together. It doesn't stick.
- Artistic License - Astronomy: Averted, Adam knows a lot about astronomy. Clearly, the writers have Shown Their Work.
- Asperger Syndrome: The titular character has it.
- Berserk Button: Don't insult Beth's Father, even if yours just died.
- Adam really dislikes being lied to.
- Big Applesauce: The movie takes place primarily in New York City.
- Big Brother Mentor, Black Best Friend & Magical Negro
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Thanks to Adam's Aspergers, it's hard for him to get metaphors.
- Boy Meets Girl: Not in the typical way.
- Brutal Honesty / Cannot Tell a Lie: Adam, thanks to his social blindness from Aspergers.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Adam and the way in which he delivers his joke about "Queens, where everybody goes to die because they can't tell the difference".
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Beth's father Marty is accused of being one.
- Daddy's Girl: Beth was raised as an only child.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Resulting in a Bittersweet Ending.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The bedroom interview rehearsal scene.
- Extreme Doormat: Zig-Zagged with Adam depending on what the script requires at any given time.
- Foregone Conclusion: Zig-Zagged. Beth is told early on that people with Asperger's are bad romance material, but ultimately strikes up a relationship with Adam. Then they break up, then she has second thoughts and then finally they break up again.
- Joisey: "I don't understand people from New Jersey." (girl at the baby shower)
- Magical Negro: Adam's family's old driver seems to have nothing better to do than give him advice, and look bemused, of course.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Adam and Beth each have elements of this toward each other. They both have some sort of dark past (Adam's dad dying and Beth's ex-boyfriend). On top of that, Adam learns a lot more about how "normal" people work, and Beth gets to learn about Aspergers.
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Really a misplaced children's book author. This woman has never heard of AS before, but feels she's prepared to date Adam after briefly asking one of her fellow teachers about it's effects on children. After one or two awkward dates she decides to sleep with him anyway.
- Scenery Porn: Some of the closing shots of Flintridge, California. The snow in central park also counts.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Adam, when he gets onto the topic of astronomy.
- Shout-Out: "I'm not Forrest Gump, you know."
- Shown Their Work: Even though it's far from "100% accurate" (Aspergers differs greatly from case-to-case anyway), it's clear that a good deal of effort by the filmmakers and actors has been put in to depict someone living with Asperger's Syndrome in a fair light.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Even though the movie is about a guy with Asperger's Syndrome, the subplot about Beth's father and the court case sure takes up a lot of time.
- Super OCD: Adam has a very strict routine... and diet.
- Supporting Protagonist: Beth narrates.