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'Simply Irresistible': Goop du Jour

By Stephen Hunter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 5, 1999

  Movie Critic

'Simply Irresistible'
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flannery are bewitched in "Simply Irresistible." (20th Century Fox)

Mark Tarlov
Sarah Michelle Gellar;
Sean Patrick Flanery;
Patricia Clarkson;
Larry Gilliard Jr.;
Anthony Ruivivar
Running Time:
1 hour, 30 minutes
Mild sexual innuendo
In "Simply Irresistible," that Buffy gal Sarah Michelle Gellar puts a stake through the heart of romantic comedy as we know it.

How bad is "Simply Irresistible"? Well, let's put it this way: It's so bad that dramatist Christopher Durang, who wrote the savage screed "Beyond Therapy," plays . . . the angel. It also features a cute animatronic crab. The filmmaker (ex-producer Mark Tarlov) seems to actually believe a crab can be twinkly.

Gellar is a lost waif who has inherited a French restaurant in Manhattan. The problem is, she can't cook. Therefore the restaurant is failing. Meanwhile, young tycoon Tom Bartlett (lightweight Sean Patrick Flanery) is developing a posh four-star restaurant for the Henri Bendel department store (the actual place made the unwise decision to cooperate with the filmmakers). Naturally Amanda (Gellar) and Tom meet, through the cute intercession of Durang as an angel. He leaves behind the magic crab (!) to oversee their relationship, and through the crab's celestial guidance, Gellar becomes a four-star chef herself, and ultimately saves the day at Tom's fancy restaurant by providing eclairs apparently laced with dopamine; everybody starts pawing through everybody else's scanties. Food, the movie says, is the food of love.

The dialogue is fast but bad, the acting is loud but awful and the morality is chaste but unromantic. As for the food, it looks vulgar. Gellar herself doesn't act so much as pout with an enthusiasm bordering on sociopathic. Her lower lip plumps so immensely it resembles the Hindenburg drifting into moorage at Lakehurst. Oh, the humanity, the humanity. But nothing is quite so atrocious as this poor young woman's wardrobe, which could have been picked out by Streisand in her "Second Hand Rose" modality. The coloring isn't right, the patterns clash, but that's okay because nothing fits.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood. See, I thought it was going to be a Jennifer Love Hewitt picture, and some disappointments you just can't come back from.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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