'Love Serenade': Swimming with the quirks

October 17, 1997|By Chris Kridler | Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF

In an isolated Australian town, two lonely sisters are looking for love. What they find in "Love Serenade" is something fishy.

He's a DJ (George Shevtsov) in voluntary exile from the big city, who's come to bring cheesy Barry White songs and self-indulgent monologues to the radio station in dusty little Sunray.

He also has gills.

Since the young women -- Miranda Otto as the geeky introvert and Rebecca Frith as the superficially normal but subtly demented older one -- are interested in fishing, he seems a natural to seduce them.Unfortunately, he's not only codlike, he's a cad.

Director Shirley Barrett's odd, amusing screenplay develops the sisters' relationship slowly, revealing one quirk after another until their very survival in society seems a miracle. Their awareness of their importance to each other also grows slowly, as they realize that they are rivals for one very slimy Don Juan. After all, there are other fish in the sea.

The effect of all this slow exposition is, of course, that the movie is a bit slow, but it's also interesting in its explorations of romance and character, a comical journey into a strange little corner of Oz.

'Love Serenade'

Starring Miranda Otto, Rebecca Frith and George Shevtsov

Directed by Shirley Barrett

Released by Miramax

Rated R (brief nudity, sexual situations)

Sun score: ** 1/2

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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