Whimsy is hard to pull off in cynical times, and while this film's source novel may have been laden with eccentric charm, it doesn't register onscreen.
Restaurateur David Purcell (William Hurt) can't make a go of his marriage or his failing Canadian-coast eatery, the Auk. His number one customer, Phonce (Andy Jones), promises to come up with a way to bail him out. David is skeptical: the paranoid Phonce is working secretly on a recreational mini-submarine he hopes to market and actually has attracted the government's attention, but only because he's illuminating his workshop with WWII-era self-generating lighting boards. They don't give a fig for his beloved one-man...