Simply Irresistible

Though it comes late in the current cycle of youth-oriented romantic comedies, this occasionally inspired combination of Like Water for Chocolateand classic movie musicals scores points for oddball charm. Any story that manages to find a place for delectable meals, a magical crab, and Christopher Durang (as a sort of culinary angel) is, at the very least, striving for something stranger than most modern fairy tales. The heroine, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is Amanda, owner and chef of a failing family restaurant in Tribeca. Her late mother was a genius in the kitchen, but Amanda's recipes are missing a key ingredient: a sensual enjoyment of life. She discovers her gift in time to whet the appetite of a straitlaced playboy (Sean Patrick Flanery, who looks scarily like David Cassidy). Their culinary romance begins as an obnoxiously cute tale of opposites, but once Amanda's cooking begins to cast an almost erotic spell over the proceedings, Simply Irresistiblebecomes as enjoyable as a long-denied dessert.

 
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