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Schlubby Greek drama 'Suntan' fails to satisfy

Schlubby Greek drama 'Suntan' fails to satisfy
Elli Tringou and Makis Papadimitriou in the film "Suntan." (Strand Releasing)

Following a pathetic, self-destructive antihero who lacks redeeming values or emotional growth proves a thoroughly unsatisfying journey in the dismal Greek import "Suntan." Whatever director Argyris Papadimitropoulos and his co-writer, Syllas Tzoumerkas, had in mind, a full rethink was in order.

Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou) is a schlubby, dour, 40ish doctor brought to a tiny Aegean island to run the local clinic. A lonely winter for Kostis gives way to a swinging summer when he meets 21-year-old Anna (Elli Tringou), a sexy hedonist who arrives in tourist season with a circle of obnoxious friends.

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Anna and her equally vapid, uninhibited fellow travelers inexplicably befriend the uncool Kostis, who is soon partying hearty with the kids, ineffectively — and embarrassingly — juggling beach and disco time with his busy work schedule.

But when Kostis falls hard for Anna, he's deluded by her teasingly impulsive response and, after a humiliating (for him) hook-up, becomes obsessed with her. Anna backs off and she and her group start ignoring and demeaning Kostis, who unravels in a host of pitiful, cringeworthy ways.

The story might have had some thematic heft if we knew or cared anything about the characters. But all we can glean about the disastrous Kostis is that he's had hard times, while Anna is a total cipher. An "Are you kidding me?" ending caps this cinematic wipeout.

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'Suntan'

In Greek and English with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Royal Theatre, West Los Angeles

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