Whimsy is hard to pull off in cynical times, and while this film's source novel may have been laden with eccentric charm, it doesn't register onscreen.
Restaurateur David Purcell (William Hurt) can't make a go of his marriage or his failing Canadian-coast eatery, the Auk. His number one customer, Phonce (Andy Jones), promises to come up with a way to bail him out. David is skeptical: the paranoid Phonce is working secretly on a recreational mini-submarine he hopes to market and actually has attracted the government's attention, but only because he's illuminating his workshop with WWII-era self-generating lighting boards. They don't give a fig for his beloved one-man-sub. In exchange for David's cooperation in testing the submarine, Phonce concocts a fictitious sighting of a rare bird, Tasker Sulfurus; rumors about the near-extinct bird help drum up business for David's eatery. Local radio talk shows spread the word, drawing the avian set to the Auk, and when interest begins to wane Phonce launches a decoy duck in the water. Complications arise when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police surround Phonce's property; their interest in those lighting boards could expose the lie about the uncommon bird. Phonce and David must figure out how to extricate themselves from the bird scam before the Auk Restaurant becomes extinct? People love movies about second chances, but this caper flick is up to its neck in rare bird droppings. Happenstance proliferates, and the grating characters are not as cute as screenwriter Edward Riche and director Sturla Gunnarson would like us to believe.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: R
- Review: Whimsy is hard to pull off in cynical times, and while this film's source novel may have been laden with eccentric charm, it doesn't register onscreen. Restaurateur David Purcell (William Hurt) can't make a go of his marriage or his failing Canadian-coast… (more)