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Simply Irresistible
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flanery
Screenplay by Judith Roberts
Directed by Mark Tarlov
website: www.newregency.com/simply/home.html

IN SHORT: Totally Resistible

Simply Irresistible, a puffy wisp of a wish it were a light and fluffy romantic comedy, follows a formulaic shoot for the moon Hollywood formula. in this case take one cult fave TV star, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Gellar. Mix with half a story that would better serve as a TV movie of the week, but not much more; toss in close to half a dozen songs for fake vid montage sequences and CD rights, and pray to God that you make it cheaply enough that all the residual elements bring in a cash profit.

In the case of Simply Irresistible, I'd also advise lighting a couple of dozen candles and the contemplation of animal sacrifice to the ancient Gods. This unappetizing dish by first time writer Judith Roberts and first time director Mark Tarlov is being served up as the date flick for Valentine's Day but it is severely undercooked.

In a pop-up book world where Cupid is renamed Gene O'Reilly (Christopher Durang) and literally sells baskets full of live crabs, lives Amanda Shelton (Gellar), a second rate chef in a failing restaurant she inherited from her mother. At an open air market, one of her Cupid's crabs bites a passing stranger, Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery), and lightning fails to strike. Bartlett is constructing a chi chi restaurant in the very expensive New York haberdashery Henri Bendel, has a controlling girlfriend of his own and no time for a woman of lesser status. Cupid's will, of course, ensure that our young lovers to be cross paths in as many ways as possible.

Bartlett's boss, Jonathan Bendel (Dylan Baker) has an assistant (Lois McNally) who longs from afar. Amanda's restaurant has three customers; she has a partner (Betty Buckley) who advises on romance and a cook (Nolan Traynor) who reveals that all men think about is sex. These characters, and their pitiful bits of story, are akin to the parsley that fills space on a restaurant plate

Remember that bucket of crabs that Cupid delivered? One crab escaped its inevitable boiling doom and hides in the kitchen, anthropomorphically working magical spells on all. Overnight, Amanda becomes a four star chef and her magical concoctions, all lovingly photographed, weave spells across everyone in her tiny world. Business improves and the restaurant is saved. Tom's girl takes a hike, as does the chef of the new restaurant, and Amanda steps in to fill both roles. Tom is not only uninterested in Amanda, he doesn't even suffer a by the book conflict (she's a great chef and I need her but I really don't like her) to keep the story interesting. Simply Irresistible is formula to a tee. With no chemistry between stars Gellar and Flanery it comes off as a series of two character stage sketches with music vids as interlude. Feh.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Simply Irresistible, he would have paid...


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