Environment is right for romance in 'Cape Cod'

May 23, 2008

"Radio Cape Cod" is a soundly executed film that will tickle die-hard romantics.

Boston-based director and producer Andrew Silver brought together a crop of British and Massachusetts actors for writer Marta Rainer's transcendental take on the age-old arguments for and against love.

Set in Woods Hole, the environmentally friendly scientific hub of Cape Cod, Rainer's story has shades of other relationship-centric tales set in quirky New England towns.

"Radio Cape Cod" shares similarities with "The Love Letter," the 1999 film about different generations in a small town searching for love, and "Dawson's Creek,"another small-town New England ensemble centering on an intense group of teens debating everything from matters of the heart to the works of Steven Spielberg.

Thankfully, there's no overacting in "Radio Cape Cod," though the script might be a little too metaphor-rich for its own good.

Sunday (Olatunde Fagbenle, "Quarterlife"), a young MIT scientist, is instantly smitten with Jill (Tamzin Outhwaite, "East Enders"), a widowed radio host, when she interviews him about his work for her show.

The two engage in a passionate discussion about his study of microbes and marine life, which quickly spirals into a metaphor for the fireworks that begin to go off between the unlikely couple.

The catch to their blossoming affair is that Sunday will be in Woods Hole for only five days before he is dispatched to a prestigious conference in Sydney, Australia.

Keeping an eye on Jill's fragile heart are her daughter Anna (Tamzin Merchant, "Pride & Prejudice") and friend (as well as Sunday's colleague) Jake (Justin Adams), who is grappling with his own attitudes on commitment as he prepares for his wedding.

Interludes of folky, bongo-heavy music and shots of crashing waves and sunsets walk a fine line between enhancing the film's understated style and being cliches.

But it's Anna and her crush Virgil's (Julian Silver) philosophical debate about their attraction that push the story over the line. While Merchant and Silver's performances are solid, their dialogue would give even Dawson Leary and Joey Potter headaches.

These shortcomings aside, "Radio Cape Cod" is sweet at its core.

("Radio Cape Cod" contains adult situations.)

Not rated.

At Coolidge Corner Theatre.

by Tenley Woodman, Boston Herald