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,
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
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