Love & Death on Long Island - rated - STONE COLD

I haven't read the book from which this film comes. It is, apparently, a "cult novel." I can't imagine this slight film reaching "cult" status.

It is, however, a "high concept" film. The premise is that a reclusive, somewhat fuddy-duddy literary figure emerges from his cocoon when he accidentally falls in love with Ronnie Bostock, an American teen heart-throb.

There are some mildly amusing scenes as the fuddy-duddy (or "erstwhile fogey" as he is called in a radio guide) has to come to terms with the 20th century and its technology, in his search for "Bostockiana" - anything he can find with Ronnie Bostock in it. But once he gets to Long Island, where Ronnie lives, the film just bogs down and doesn't go anywhere.

A word about the names: the fuddy-duddy is called Giles De 'Ath (geddit) and the American movie star is called Ronnie Bostock. Ronnie Bostock, the American film star? It sounds more like the lost third member of the Two Ronnies!

Jason Priestley does quite well in a part that requires him to play himself with a sense of humour. But the part goes nowhere. On the other hand, John Hurt is woefully miscast. He may be English, but he's no fuddy-duddy. He never connects - he seems to be coasting. The two major parts for women are vastly underwritten. Sheila Hancock works wonders with her part in the few minutes she has on film. I wanted to know more about her relationship with Giles. Fiona Loewi, as Ronnie's girlfriend looks at one point as if she's about to take off and do something, but she simply disappears. How disappointing! I'd have liked to have seen a bit more of the women in this film.

I thought the direction was pretty uninspired. In fact, it's not often that direction is so ordinary that it starts to become noticeable. This was noticeable. Long Isalnd seemed a complete construct - there was no sense of place, no geography. I was hoping things would pick up in the end, but no. The director, Richard Kwietnowski, is British, and he seems to have a very limited connection with the landscape his film is set in. When in doubt, let's go down to the beach again...

Frankly, the film bored me. I found myself wishing I was watching one of the films Ronnie Bostock starred in: "Tex Mex" or "Skid Marks", perhaps. I had to amuse myself by working up an alternative ending: Jason Priestly screws up the paper, turns to the camera, pulls a face and says "As if!"