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copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | Love Serenade 1996
Directed + written by: Shirley Barrett
Starring: Miranda Otto, Rebecca Frith, George Shevtsov
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
comedy, foreign [Australia]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: 
darkly comic
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis In the isolated outback town of Sunray, unmarried sisters Dimity (Otto) and Vicki-Ann (Frith) share a house together. When Brisbane radio personality Ken Sherry (Shevtsov) moves into the house next door, having come to Sunray to escape the hustle and bustle of the "big" city, he manages to bring a good deal of excitement to the lives of Dimity and Vicki-Ann. With regards to available men in their town, the pickings have been extremely slim indeed. While the perky, elder Vicki-Ann bakes homemade casseroles as her means of seducing the impassive DJ, mousy Dimity inadvertently manages to get to him first via her own blunt  maneuverings. As both sisters become more and more involved with their new neighbor, they begin to catch hints that the fishily mysterious -- and, truth be told, fairly unctuous, in his laidback sort of way -- Ken Sherry may be harboring a strange (to say the least) secret.

Review Australia has a predilection for churning out oddball little movies with over-the-top quirky characters (Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Strictly Ballroom, just to name a few of the better-known examples). Maybe the eccentric comedy is as much a cliché in Australian cinema as those Meg Ryan romantic-comedies are in mainstream Hollywood fare, but personally, I’ll take the former just about any day. Love Serenade features all the hallmarks of this seemingly uniquely Australian genre – small-town setting, a slew of bizarre personalities, and an inexplicable obsession with cheesy 70s music (in this case, Barry White). But, unlike the fluffy Muriel’s Wedding for instance, Love Serenade is far from just another quirky, light-hearted romantic comedy but rather (and don’t let the box cover mislead you) a dark (though frequently humorous) rumination on the differences between men and women, and the claustrophobic nature of small-town life. If you’re easily weirded-out, save yourself the $3 rental and skip it – you’re guaranteed to find the story creepy. But for those of you looking for something just a little – okay, maybe more – left of center, check out this edgy feminist flick.
  reviewed by Y. Sun 

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