As romantic comedies go, & they usually go badly, Simply Irresistible (1999) has a genuinely amusing well written script. Sean Patrick Flanery captures oddities of character that make Tom much more interesting than the typical romantic lead. And the supporting cast is universally brilliant.
The week link is Sarah Michelle Geller taking a moment's break from the long successful run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), striving to prove she isn't just a tv actor. Alas, she is just a tv actor. She's as sexy as a nasally imparied allergy victim. She has very good material to work with, but it's hard to tell.
Tom is appealingly eccentric & reluctant to admit he's fallen in love with cafe owner Amanda. Whether slapstick or just regarding human frailty & hope, it's scene for scene sweet & funny. It only goes tepid when Geller tries to play "sexy" & fails extravagantly, leaving us to wonder why Tom is so seduced.
Tom's secretary Lois (Patricia Clarkson) appears to be Tom's only real friend besides his Girl Friday. Nolan (Larry Gilliard, Jr) is Amanda's best friend, a friend anyone would want to have. Through each character, there's a kindness infusing the film that is all too rare in modern cinema, even romantic comedies.
Little supernatural things begin to occur, connected in some way with Amanda's cooking, & the wish-fulfilling pet crab she keeps in the kitchen. The curious "romanticism of cookery" is very convincing & wonderful, & Geller's minimal acting talent does sometimes suit the role of mystic chef, much more so than she fits the role of love interest.
Lois has figured out that Amanda's pastaries are love-magic & shares one with Jonathan (Dylan Baker), Tom's generally uptight business partner, on whom Lois has had a crush. The magic, besides fixing up his love life, also causes Jonathan to see his dead grandfather's reflection in his patent leather shoes, a strange influence of Amanda's cooking that will ultimately help him resolve old issues.
Tom is afraid of this magic, & is willing to turn his back on a good thing rather than lose his will to sorcery. But it is a romantic comedy after all, & never any serious worry that it won't work out well for him & Amanda & even for the pet crab.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl