Monday, February 8, 1999

Simply yucky

Movie: Simply Irresistible

Posted on Mon, Feb 8, 1999 at 4:00 AM

Our Rating: 1.00

It should be simple for audiences to resist the inanely titled "Simply Irresistible," the new and extremely unneccesary romantic fantasy from the Hollywood flop factory, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame.

Obviously lifting the film's basic premise -- and nothing else -- from the art-house classic "Like Water For Chocolate," "Simply Irresistible" tells the tale of Amanda Shelton (Gellar), an orphaned restaurateur who is visited early on in the film by a mysterious stranger (playwright Christopher Durang) bearing crabs -- of the edible variety. One very feisty and magical crab instantly leads Amanda to Tom Bartlet (Sean Patrick Flanery), a perfectly coiffed executive in charge of opening a restaurant in a large New York department store.

The mysterious stranger stays around long enough for Amanda and Tom to hook up and for the kitchen in Amanda's down-on-its-luck restaurant to begin creating magic gourmet creations all on its own (with the help of the magical crab, of course). Once Amanda gets into the act of actually doing the cooking, the food begins to deliver to the diner the same emotions that Amanda feels as she is whipping up each concoction.

Actors Betty Buckley, Dylan Baker and Patricia Clarkson are wasted, and so are any words used to try and make sense of the insipid and thoroughly ludicrous plot designed to launch the big-screen-lead career of the likable but just as wasted Gellar. Flanery also is appealing in a squeaky-clean way; too bad the convoluted storyline never allows the two of them to develop the sort of "magic" this film so sorely lacks. Rather, the audience is subjected to yucky scenes like the one where Flanery mutters like a maniac about how good Gellar's food is while licking flour off her face.

Leaving the theater after digesting this piece of tripe left me feeling mighty crabby myself.


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