WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT DAMN CRAB???
Whew. Okay. Cause that same clip shown over and over again was beginning to get on my nerves towards the end, as cute as the crab may be. Even I know that you need more footage than that. And that wasn't the only thing getting on my nerves. The cutesy gimmicks, saccharine sweet score/soundtrack and the pretty young faces of Sarah Michelle Gellar (as Amanda) and Sean Patrick Flannery (as Tom) might have held some appeal during, oh, say the first 10 minutes of the movie. At first the movie moves along at a quick, interesting pace. It is speedily established that something magical is about to happen to Amanda when she encounters a totally random fairy godfather type person on the street, whose aforementioned crab follows her everywhere and just doesn't die. A ridiculous concept, yes, but at this point I'm willing to accept it because I'm willing to accept that this is how Amanda's life is changed, how her powers are received.
Later on, the movie can't seem to decide whether these powers come from this fairy godfather or from Amanda falling in with Tom. And this is why the clips of the crab were annoying; they weren't just repetitive, they were out of place and unnecessary. The plot stumbles along at an uneven speed, sometimes dwelling too long on a particular development (Amanda suddenly becoming a great chef, her falling in love with Tom, etc.), sometimes moving on too quickly for its own good. Some places the plot just doesn't make sense, sometimes it's way too contrived (the crab bit, for example), and sometimes too corny (Peaches emitting dry ice. Can't beat that). All in all the plot seemed fragmented, unconnected. Not romantic at all, and only funny in some places. So, okay, do the magic powers come from the crab? Or the fairy godfather? She can float now too? And all of a sudden, instead of just making dry ice come out of peaches, she can put her emotions into her food? Tom all of a sudden just accepts Amanda's "witchcraft" in the end? Would people really dine in a restaurant that resembles life after death in Tupac's video? WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT DAMN CRAB? It is unfortunate, because I liked the basic premise of the movie, until it became too fantastical and tiresome. The film seemed to skirt around a serious theme or at least a theme for a while, but towards the end it resolved to show us long flashback clips and 5 minutes of people crying at their tables. The humor was good in some places (Nolan gets the funniest bits, including that incomprehensible, totally random thing with the dolls). Gellar and Flannery are qualified actors, and Gellar has a particular charm, but I much prefer her playing the saucy Buffy (or even Annette in the upcoming "Cruel Intentions") than this sorry excuse for a character. It's almost funny sometimes to see these two trying so hard to make the dialogue sound better than it is, or trying to make the relationship seem more plausible. The supporting character Nolan was a highlight, though he reminded me a bit of Kevin in "You've Got Mail" (see footnotes). And, as always, typical of a chick flick/romantic comedy, there's a seemingly endless romantic soundtrack in the background, cued up at all the right places. This sort of got on the nerves after a while, too.
"Simply Irresistible" is not hard to understand, light, funny in some places, and generally disappointing because it can't draw the line between romance and protracted SAP, between humor and tired slapstick. And how could I refrain from a bit of wordplay? . . . "Simply Irresistible" is all too easy to resist.
Rating: D+ (First viewing, 2/6/99)
* Did anyone else think this was a tad bit similar to "You've Got Mail" (or "The Shop Around the Corner")? Business rivals fall in love. Female counterpart's business is in danger of being shut down. Female as mother-like figure guiding her. The annoying, hysterical ex-girlfriends.
* I really like Sarah Michelle Gellar's wardrobe.