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Simply Irresistible

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Simply Irresistible

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery
Director: Mark Tarlov
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Dylan Baker, Patricia Clarkson, Christopher Durang, Larry Gilliard Jr., Betty Buckley, Amanda Peet, Anthony Ruivivar

Review by Greg King
3 stars out of 4

I've seen three romantic comedies in the space of as many days, and Simply Irresistible is easily the best of the lot. It is charming, magical, enjoyable and, yes, irresistible.

It's a bad week for Amanda (Sarah Michelle Gellar, from Buffy, and the recent teen drama Cruel Intentions, etc). The family restaurant is being forced to close after seventy years, because it cannot pay its bills. But thanks to some timely intervention from a mysterious stranger and a magical crab (don't ask!), Amanda's fortunes take a turn for the better. Suddenly, her emotions are somehow captured in her cooking, and the restaurant becomes successful again.

Her culinary treats also begin to work their magic on everyone else. Amanda catches the eye of the handsome Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery, from the Young Indiana Jones series, etc), an executive at a famous department store which is on the verge of opening its own exclusive restaurant. Tom is an inveterate womaniser who always breaks up his relationships after the fourth date. He chooses Amanda's restaurant as the scene of his latest public split from his current girl friend. The gastronomic magic somehow brings Tom and Amanda together, although he wastes far too much time trying to analyse events rather than just going with the flow.

Meanwhile, Amanda's tasty treats also manufacture a passionate romance between Tom's secretary (Patricia Clarkson, from High Art, etc) and the store's humourless owner (Dylan Baker, from Happiness, etc).

The central plot heavily borrows from the wonderful Mexican film Like Water For Chocolate (1992), in which a woman imbued her cooking with her emotions, but first time writer Judith Roberts adds her own winning ingredients to the mix. The result is a charming, mischievous, sexy, witty and simply irresistible comedy that should work its magic on audiences. Mark Tarlov, a producer whose diverse credits include Christine to Serial Mom, makes his directorial debut here. He keeps things moving along at a jaunty pace that suits the material.

The likeable cast deliver delightful performances. In particular, Gellar and Flanery strike sparks, and their obvious chemistry lifts this light weight soufflé.

Audiences who love this sort of thing should immerse themselves in this thoroughly enjoyable concoction. If you go along with the film's delightfully off beat premise and don't question where the magic is coming from, then Simply Irresistible works a treat.

Copyright © 2000 Greg King

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