This new Australian feature, apparently a romantic comedy, opens with a big splash. Literally. Air-postman Walter (Brown), a sexy hitch-hiker (Vujcic from Broken English), her stolen gold, plus a bag of mail crash into the sea...on location somewhere near Brampton Island. Anyway, they're lost. And they're also hopelessly miscast.The older man/much younger woman trip is really getting boring. And it's especially disheartening to see it in an Australian film. But it's more than the age difference between the lonely pilot-postman and the tough, street-smart Claudia that bugs you. It's Claudia's over-acting. Vujcic plays it like she is auditioning for Tarantino...and Tarantino's not buying.
Cudlipp, who has a background in advertising, also wrote this, his first feature. While it's a fairly witty script, replete with the odd plot twist, it dies in the mouths of the leads. Lines and situations that should read as funny just don't work. And while the handful of underwater visuals are breathtaking, Cudlipp approaches the Gilligan's Island-like reality as if he's directing for TV, perhaps a Club Med commercial. He redeems himself, somewhat, with Walter's increasingly elaborate sand-sculptures, some of which are beautiful.
Adding a bit of life and heart are a cop and two postal workers in Talok Spring - the little mainland town from where Claudia and Walter derive. As the sweet young cop Anton, Hunt (Blue Heelers) is quietly impressive in his smalltown isolation, while the immensely talented Deborah Mailman (Radiance), working in the Talok Spring GPO, delivers Dear Claudia's only funny moment.
As a light-hearted bit of entertainment, the ideas behind Dear Claudia are all there. It's not a bad story, with the added spice of Claudia's hidden treasure and police hunt. But Walter and Claudia are not, in any way, believable.Another 'Who Cares?' romantic comedy. ---Annette Basile