Greetings From the Shore

Posted: September 12, 2008

Directed by Greg Chwerchak. With Kim Shaw, Paul Sorvino and David Fumero. Distributed by Newstyle Releasing. R (profanity). Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse and the AMC Loews Cherry Hill.

In this sentimental coming-of-age story, a girl named Jenny (Kim Shaw) heads down to the New Jersey Shore town of Lavallette for the summer, hoping to scrape up tuition for her first semester at Columbia University.

She renews a tenuous relationship with a crusty local named Catch (Paul Sorvino), and lands a job at a yacht club, teaching the immigrant kitchen staff some rudimentary English.

Jenny falls for one of the surly busboys, the hunky Benicio (David Fumero). It's a summer of romance and ice cream. Oh, and so much cigarette smoke, you'd think you were watching an episode of Mad Men.

In the end, the dreams of Jenny and her band of summer scruffs all come down to a high-stakes poker game between Catch and the nasty owner of the yacht club (Jay O. Sanders).

It's a formulaic and familiar plot, the Jersey girl version of The Flamingo Kid. But it unfolds smoothly, thanks to Greg Chwerchak's focused direction. And the water down on Barnegat Island looks oddly idyllic on film.

Greetings From the Shore is well-acted, including by newcomer Shaw, who has an appealing, wide-eyed innocence reminiscent of a young Meg Ryan.

This is a two-hankie weeper that doesn't really earn its tears. But it's a sweet little movie nonetheless.

- David Hiltbrand

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