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Director Paul Cox (Innocence) began his winning streak of offbeat pictures and off-center character pieces with this deft 1981 romantic comedy. Norman Kaye is a delight as the 40ish piano tuner with a whimsical streak who meets shy, sheltered single Wendy Hughes, a woman 20 years his junior, through a dating service. This unlikely couple hits it off right away, much to the disapproval of her smothering parents. Cox's deadpan observance of Kaye's wacky pranks is hilarious--Kaye convinces one woman that he's blind, and the confused look on her face as he wobbles back to his car and drives off is alone worth seeing the film. But at heart the movie belongs to the awkward, uncomfortable moments of new relationships that Cox so warmly captures in all their nervous excitement. Cox and Kaye followed this lovely little picture with the even more eccentric Man of Flowers.

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MG1002754 Lonely Hearts DVD (1982/Paul Cox) $14.98 $12.49