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Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible title card

Year - 1999
Studio - Regency Enterprises
Stars - Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery, Patricia Clarkson, Dylan Baker, Betty Buckley, Christopher Durang, Larry Gilliard, Jr.
Director - Mark Tarlov
Writing Credits - Judith Roberts
Music - Gil Goldstein

Synopsis

Amanda Shelton (Sarah Michelle Gellar) inherits the restaurant owned by her late mother, but the business is failing because of her lack of culinary skills. As she shops at an outdoor market, a somewhat mysterious man, Gene O'Reilly (Christopher Durang) claims to be an old friend of her mother's, and sells Amanda a basket of crabs.

Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery) manages an exclusive department store, and plans to open an equally high end restaurant at the store. He and his girlfriend, Chris (Amanda Peet), take a taxi to scope out a competitor, but the driver (the mysterious Gene O'Reilly) drops them off at Amanda's restaurant instead. They go in and Amanda suggests the Crab Napoleon, a name she makes up - Tom orders that, Chris orders a chicken dish. In the kitchen, Amanda desperately tries to create a special dish, watched by one of the large crabs who has perched on a kitchen shelf. A strange mood comes over her, and she prepares Tom's food in a dream state. When he is served, he finds the food to be amazingly delectable. His girlfriend, however, reacts violently from her order, shouting insults, throwing plates, and telling Tom it's over between them.

Simply Irresistible poster

Later, Amanda visits Tom at his new restaurant, still under construction, and brings freshly baked pastries. Everyone there who eats them goes into a state of reverie, and Tom and Amanda end up dancing, ala Astaire and Rogers, on a fog covered dance floor.

Amanda invites Tom to return to her restaurant for dinner. Having conflicted feelings about her strange powers, he is hesitant, but shows up later that night. After eating one of her special desserts, they embrace and find themselves floating to the ceiling. Tom, now believing she is a witch, leaves in fear. But when his French chef abruptly quits, Tom's boss hires Amanda to cook for elite guests at a black tie dinner in the new restaurant.

At the big dinner, Amanda brings her "lucky crab" to help her overcome her insecurities over feeding such an elite crowd. As she begins preparing the dishes, her confidence returns and she is inspired to create amazing dishes. The food has the effect of causing the dinner guests to experience the same emotions that went into its preparation, and they are ecstatic.

Her work completed, she leaves the party in a cab, seen by Tom from a window. Realizing that he loves her, he throws a paper airplane that floats through the taxi window to her lap. She returns, where they reconcile on the dance floor.

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Simple Irresistible was the last film reviewed by the late Gene Siskel. (He gave it a thumbs down.)