Simply Irresistible (film)

Simply Irresistible is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Mark Tarlov and was written by Judith Roberts, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flanery. It is Regency Enterprises' first film to be released by 20th Century Fox, instead of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Simply Irresistible
Simply irresistible.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Tarlov
Written byJudith Roberts
Produced by
  • Jon Amiel
  • Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr.
  • John Fiedler
CinematographyRobert M. Stevens
Edited byPaul Karasick
Music byGil Goldstein
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 5, 1999 (1999-02-05) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million[1]
Box office$4.4 million[1]


Amanda Shelton (Sarah Michelle Gellar) inherits her late mother's restaurant, but lacks her mother's ability to cook. The restaurant is failing when Amanda meets a mysterious and possibly magical man at the local market. He introduces himself as Gene O'Reilly and claims to be an old friend of her mother's. He sells her crabs, one of which escapes cooking to become her personal mascot. Amanda meets her love interest at the market, Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery), a department store manager at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, who is opening an ambitious new restaurant inside his store. It is never explicitly explained why, but this eventful day transforms Amanda into a miraculous food magician; people who now eat her impressive new dishes start feeling exactly what she was feeling when she was making the dish. These are inspired by her emotions and created with the help of her magic crab.

Amanda saves her restaurant overnight, and her relationship with Tom blossoms just as fast. However, Tom, being a career-minded control freak, panics when he realizes that not only could she be a witch who could be casting spells on him, but that his own emotions are getting the best of him, and he promptly dumps her.

When Amanda goes to confront Tom one last time at his office, she witnesses the violent tantrum and resignation of a celebrity French chef hired for the opening of Tom's new restaurant. When it is discovered that Amanda is in fact the hot new chef in town everyone is talking about, she is hired on the spot, despite Tom's protests.

Once Amanda overcomes her self-doubts and insecurities, she reaches her full potential as a chef, and the opening is a complete success. Though Tom refuses to taste Amanda's food during the opening, he eventually admits to himself he was wrong to reject Amanda because she made him feel emotional. He finally decides to embrace his feelings for her and goes after her. At the last minute, he reaches her with his own personal magic (a paper airplane), and the two reconcile on the dance floor.



According to Mark Tarlov, the director, the conception of the film arose from "intersection of eating and drinking and romance [...] part of my interest with the movie was this idea of being able to bend reality. How food and wine actually bends time and space [...] the whole Einsteinian view of bending time and space based on your position relative to the events that are happening."[2]

Tarlov's wife, Judith Roberts, wrote the screenplay based on a story co-developed by Roberts and Tarlov.[2] According to Tarlov, "the script was about a middle-aged young woman [...] who had never found romance before because she never found her passion. And when she found her passion—which was cooking—romance followed."[2]

The director pitched the film to Holly Hunter, who he intended to play the lead role, but the studio did not want her to play the part, Sarah Jessica Parker was then wanted but the studio felt she was too old for the part. The character was then rewritten to a 20 year old woman with Sarah Michelle Gellar landing the role. The studio wanted to cash in on her success from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Critical responseEdit

Simply Irresistible was poorly received by critics. Though the acting has received praise, the screenplay has received criticism. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 16%, based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 3.95/10. The site's consensus states: "Simply Irresistible is simply not."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B-.[5]

Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, and stated "Old-fashioned and obvious, yes, like a featherweight comedy from the 1950s. But that's the charm". John Petrakis from Chicago Tribune gave the film a negative review: "Falls prey to the all-too-contemporary problem of complicating the tale until the ending is not only obvious, but prayed for between yawns".[citation needed] Tom Meek from Film Threat described the film as "Insipid, maudlin mush".[citation needed]

Box officeEdit

The film opened at #9 at the North American box office making $2.2 million USD in its opening weekend.[1]



  1. "Little King" – The Hollowbodies
  2. "Busted" – Jennifer Paige
  3. "Falling" – Donna Lewis
  4. "Got the Girl (Boy from Ipanama)" – Reiss
  5. "The Angel of the Forever Sleep" – Marcy Playground
  6. "Take Your Time" – Lori Carson
  7. "Beautiful Girls" – Chris Lloyd
  8. "Once in a Blue Moon" – Sydney Forest
  9. "Parkway" – The Hang Ups
  10. "Our Love Is Going to Live Forever" – Spain
  11. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" – Katalina
  12. "That Old Black Magic" (Harold Arlen) – Jessica

Astaire referencesEdit

The film contains references to four musical films of Fred Astaire:

  • The Belle of New York (1952): Flanery and Gellar's floating to the ceiling evokes similar scenes involving Astaire and Vera-Ellen.
  • Yolanda and the Thief (1946)
    • The flooring which Flanery selects for his new restaurant is a copy of that used in the "Coffee Time" number.
    • Dylan Baker comments: "This looks like something out of an MGM musical".
  • Shall We Dance (1937): Flanery's confusion when faced with multiple images of Gellar echoes Astaire when confronted with multiple masked versions of Ginger Rogers in the Shall We Dance finale.
  • Swing Time (1936): The layout of the restaurant at the end of the movie closely resembles the restaurant and night club, the "Silver Sandal."


  1. ^ a b c "Simply Irresistible". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ a b c [1]
  3. ^ "Simply Irresistible". Rotten Tomatoes.
  4. ^ "Simply Irresistible Reviews". Metacritic.
  5. ^ SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE (1999) CinemaScore
  6. ^ "Gil Goldstein, Various Artists - Soundtracks - Simply Irresistible: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Music". Retrieved 2020-03-25.

External linksEdit