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Simply Irresistible

Review by Gregory Avery
Posted 5 February 1999

  Directed by Mark Tarlov

Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery,
Betty Buckley, Patricia Clarkson, Dylan Baker,
Christopher Durang, and Larry Gilliard, Jr.

Written by Judith Roberts and Elisabeth Robinson

In Simply Irresistible, which sometimes looks like a failed TV pilot made by someone after seeing Like Water for Chocolate, Sarah Michelle Gellar not only saves her family's failing restaurant with her cooking, but it has strange and magical effects upon everyone who tastes it, including a handsome young Henri Bendel store executive (Sean Patrick Flanery, a smile and a suit on a stick). Patricia Clarkson, who played the indelible Greta in High Art, is perfectly appealing, here, as an updated version of the kind of secretary-sidekick character Eve Arden used to play, always quick on the uptake but lovelorn. Clarkson's character has eyes for, and gets, another executive working at Bendel's -- Dylan Baker, the incredible actor last seen in Happiness and, briefly, Celebrity. One yearns for a scene where these two give-in and do some serious horsing around together. (Alas, it's not in the film.) And Gellar looks like she just might turn into an actress who's not just pretty but can also express how her character thinks and feels from within. (I'm going to give her another film or two before making a decision.)

As for this, I'll let you in on a little secret: I enjoyed it. Yes, even with the supporting character who's a crab (as in, "shellfish") and the awful two- scene appearance by Christopher Durang, I sat back and found myself enjoying it. Call it coincidence, call it irresponsible, but I'd be lyin' to ya if I said otherwise.

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