Critics nationwide are cheering the wickedly funny and outrageously entertaining LOVE SERENADE! Though one is shy and the other is flashy and outgoing, the Hurley sisters are both lonely young women on the lookout for love... more »! So when a slick, smooth-talking radio deejay from the big city blows into their tiny town ... and moves in next door ... it sets off a hilarious competition to win his affections! Provocative and lively, this sexy comedy treat delivers irresistible fun as these wacky siblings turn their lives upside down to get their man!« less
"I first became aware of some of the great movies coming out of Australia and New Zealand in the 80s, and this movie is one of my favorites. It's a very quirky, off-beat, and darkly funny film that probably won't appeal to many moviegoers, but it shows what a good script writer, director, and just a handful of talented actors and actresses can do with what at first blush seems very mundane and not especially promising material. The movie hinges on its intimate portrayal of the several characters and their relationships, set against the backdrop of the small, dead-end, Australian outback town of Sunray, west of Brisbane on Australia's Sunshine Coast. There are only four main characters in the entire film: the two sisters, Vicky-Ann and Dimity, the DJ, Ken Sherry, and the Chinese restaurant owner and nudist, Albert. The whole movie revolves around these four odd characters and their equally odd relationships.
The plot unfolds with the langourous pacing of a pitcher's duel, but the only real pitcher (more like pitchman) in the movie is the sleazoid, manipulative DJ, Ken Sherry, who pitches his cynical and self-serving philosophy of free sex and free love to the two inexperienced and naive neighbor sisters who are competing for his affections. At first charmed by Ken's smooth-talking demeanor, the three are soon involved in a bizarre love triangle, and the girls quickly find out that Ken is nothing more than a smooth-talking and manipulative cad.
Besides Ken and the two sisters, Vicky-Ann and Dimity, and their relationships, which would be enough quirkiness for any movie except this wonderfully weird black comedy, there's Albert, the nudist/philosopher and Chinese cook, who doesn't like Ken's unchanging roster of Barry White songs because they're always, as Albert says, "about procreation" (and tells him so). This is despite Albert's admitting to being a practicing nudist. Albert becomes obsessed with why Ken doesn't order his fresh prawns and only orders the beef with black bean sauce. Unlike the two smitten sisters, Albert isn't impressed with Ken one bit. Soon the story is enmeshed in a web of suspicions, as Ken is suspicious of Albert's prawns, Albert is suspicious of Ken's smooth ways with the women, and the two sisters are suspicious of each other's designs on Ken.
In fact, the subject of fish and seafood almost becomes another subplot, as the characters talk about fishing, the giant marlin on Ken Sherry's wall, go for a leisurely canoe trip on the local river, and debate the freshness of Albert's prawns. As if that weren't enough, Dimity thinks Ken himself is part fish--he apparently has webbed toes and she thinks he has gills on his neck which exude a fatty substance just like a carp! (This despite the fact that Ken doesn't like fish :-)). The two sisters have a blow-up when Dimity reveals her suspicions that Ken is really a fish. The movie opens with a fishing scene on the river and ends with another scene on the same river (which I won't discuss since it would ruin the plot, but it has to do with that infamous line from the first Godfather movie about Lucca Bratsi).
As if all of the above weren't enough, add in a striptease scene by Dimity, some frank nudity and sex, and what will happen with the two enormous and mysterious storage silos that keep appearing throughout the movie, and you have one of the strangest, quirkiest, and funniest movies ever to come out of the great and exotic land of Oz. This movie has the potential to become a cult classic although I doubt it'll ever get the attention and fame that it truly deserves."
Brilliant Slow Burn
Chris | Australia | 06/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love Serenade is a one-off and highly novel arthouse movie based upon largely unknown actors and a narrow and quirky plot. This is very much a slow burn and it won't appeal to some, while others will be coming back again and again. The movie starts when big time dag, and one time DJ "Ken Sherry" rolls into a dead-end Australian outback town in his dated brown RX7 to the sound of one of Barry White's more seedy tunes. No sooner has Ken arrived on the scene than two backward country sisters, (one fiesty, one clueless and both desperate) start their own amateurish fight for Ken's effections. Ken is a big town sleaze who takes it upon himself to take full advantage of both naive sisters while spouting his own poetic brand of self-justifying hedonistic philosophy. With the local Chinese chef and nudist Albert as the self-appointed voice of reason (and superstition) the whole plot becomes increacingly bizzare. The ending really takes the cake and is a great moment the first time you see it. I should add that Ken's most redeeming feature is that he plays great music tracks from the 70's on his radio station, and the soundtrack to this movie is extremely enjoyable and well worth hunting down on CD."
Sunray Silos & Sheilas
driver011 | Christchurch, New Zealand | 02/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My favourite movie. Drive into the hypnotic outback town of Sunray and adjust your attitude accordingly.Two small-minded sisters and two over-sized silos hardly sound like the basis for a plot. However,introduce a jaded sleazo DJ in exile from Brisbane,throw in a singing,nudist Chinese restauranteur,smother with a liberal coating of agendas(both obvious and hidden)and you have a very dark comedy.Comedy because it makes you laugh and dark because it makes you think. Certainly,the search for the ideal partner will never seem the same again.Neither will beef and black bean sauce. This film probably holds tremendous appeal for a potentially limited audience and as such may never achieve the acclaim it truly deserves."
FANTASTIC AND FUNNY!
carolyn5000 | 03/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I abolutely LOVED this movie! Both sisters and Ken Sherry were delightfully quirky and amusing. Its a great movie that is NOT predictable and is so interesting and funny. The acting is GREAT on all parts, the restaurant owner was a special treat. I would highly recommend this movie if you like more low key indie movies like Trees Lounge and Kicking and Screaming and the fantabulously underrated She's So Lovely."
A delightfully diabolic comedic tale from down under
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 07/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ken Sherry (George Shevtsov), a tall, divorced, sleazy, and a bit in love with himself disc jockey from Brisbane comes to the tiny berg of Sunray to take over disc jockeying duties at the local radio station. He likes to spin platters with deep vocals from seductive male voices like Barry White's while spewing out tidbits of philosophy and poetry designed to enthrall the ladies. In the house next door to the one he has acquired, live two unmarried sisters, Dimity (Miranda Otto) and Vicki-Ann (Rebecca Frith) who toss out the lures in the hope of landing such a catch.
(The fishing metaphor here and those to follow are appropriate because at one point Dimity notices that Ken has a kind of scar on his neck making her think he has gills. Additionally he has a marlin on one of his walls, although he won't eat fish. Furthermore, in the opening scene of the movie, Dimity and Vicki-Ann are actually fishing.)
Anyway, for the girls the lesson here is be careful what you fish for since the catch of your dreams might turn out to be the tomcod of your nightmares. Dimity is younger, virginal and a bit odd. She's a waitress at the local Chinese restaurant. Older sister Rebecca is slightly desperate and on the make. She runs the town's beauty parlor. As the competition for Ken heats up they decide they hate each other. At first the younger sister Dimity seem to have him hooked, but then Rebecca seems to be hauling him in and headed for matrimonial bliss, so much so that she opens her trousseau and takes out her wedding gown to try it on and show him..., and then.... Well, the key here is that the script and direction by Shirley Barrett is just so diabolically clever and so full of keen insights into the psychology of men and women, especially women, that it is just a riot. Otto manages the sweet innocence and naiveté of a 14-year-old, although she is supposed to be twenty. The expressions she gets on her face are just so, so funny. I loved the scene where she is on Ken's couch and he is sitting arrogantly on the other end and at length asks her if she wants to be kissed. Yes, she does; and the way she slides over to him, bit by anxious bit, was just too funny. I also loved the scene where Ken is on top of her and she is lying on her back looking up at ceiling (at the camera of course) with an somewhat puzzled, pleased and expectant expression on her face, as if she is searching for what she is supposed to be feeling while Ken mechanically continues to do what he is doing.
Also good is the scene near the end, high in the silo, where Ken is explaining something to Rebecca. The camera is on him, but directly behind him we see Dimity's face smiling in some delight as if she knows how this is going to end. (And she does.)
I thought it was interesting that the small town of Sunray, Australia could have easily been Sunray Kansas or Sunray, Ohio, so much was it like a typical small American town. I also found apt how the soundtrack of seductive hits from the seventies, "Love Serenade" itself, and two others by Barry White, but also "Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul, mirrored Ken Sherry's "philosophy" of love and meshed well with his deep, sonorous voice. The song "My Coo Ca Choo" by Alvin Stardust played near the end was apparently a hit in Australia, but this was the first time I'd heard it. Good song.
See this for Shirley Barrett who simultaneously satirizes both male and female sexuality in a manner that would have delighted Oscar Wilde and any number of comedy writers, and for Miranda Otto who was both funny and charming. "