Last cast opposite each other in the adult thriller 'Unfaithful', 'Nights in Rodanthe' reunites Richard Gere and Diane Lane for a more wholesome, Sunday afternoon TV experience. It's from Nicholas Sparks, who also wrote 'Message in a Bottle', 'A Walk to Remember' and 'The Notebook', and - male or female - if you found yourself sucked into them you'd be hoping for more of the same here.

While her son and daughter (Whitman, Tahan) go on holiday with her estranged husband (Meloni), Adrienne Willis (Lane) travels to North Carolina to act as caretaker for her friend's (Davis) inn.

With a storm on the way, the inn only has one guest, Paul Flanner (Gere), a doctor whose personal and professional lives are in tatters, and who has come to the island for the reason which impacts on both. In the space of a few days he and Adrienne go from a business relationship to unlikely confidantes and then lovers as each finds something in the other to offer hope that life will get better.

Co-stars as far back as 'The Cotton Club' in 1985, there's a rapport between Gere and Lane that comes through on screen - it's just a pity that they don't have something better to work with. At 97 minutes, 'Nights in Rodanthe' has the feel - right or wrong - that a lot of stuff was left behind in the edit suite. James Franco, playing Gere's onscreen son, is only in it for about five minutes and the second part of the film, which should have been an hour, is crammed into around half that.

So will romantics' hearts flutter? Briefly. There are a couple of good scenes between Gere and Lane in the early stages; otherwise it's a story of what might have been in more ways than one.

Harry Guerin