Del and Mladen review ‘A Recipe for Seduction’

Image courtesy of KFC/Lifetime.

“A Recipe for Seduction” Starring Mario Lopez, Justene Alpert, Chad Doreck, Emily Lemos, Martin Morrow and Tessa Munro. Directed by Eric Eckelman, Armand Prisco and Natalie Prisco. 15 minutes. Rated TV-PG. Lifetime.

Del’s take

Wow, that was the longest TV commercial I’ve ever seen, longer than the wait time for a 20-piece bucket at the KFC drive-thru.

Yeah, I know Lifetime is pitching “A Recipe for Seduction” as a “mini-movie” but c’mon. They know and you know and I know it’s really just an ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hell, I’m picturing the $5 lunch special as I write this and it’s not even second breakfast.

“Recipe” kind of offends me because it represents the further contamination of an art form for the pedestrian enrichment of a giant corporation. It is to movie-making what Donald Trump was to the presidency – one giant, polluted fuckup that left us all with spiritually clogged arteries.

On the other, I don’t think anybody is taking things too seriously, especially the folks at KFC and Lifetime. “Recipe” makes no effort not to laugh at itself and because of that I can’t be too offended. Mladen can, but I can’t.

The plot, if you can call it that, goes as follows: Young Jessica (Justene Alpert) is being set up to marry the obnoxiously wealthy Billy Garibaldi III (Chad Doreck) by Jessica’s evil mother Bunny (Tessa Munro). It’s a marriage that must happen if Jessica’s family is to remain solvent, but she doesn’t love Billy because he’s a chicken dick. Instead, the hot new chef, Harlan Sanders, looks finger-lickin’ good, and his secret recipe for fried chicken promises a level of wealth that might even keep Bunny in style if she could just stop being evil and consider the possibilities.

Will Jessica marry the rich goldfish or go with the chicken fingers? Will Bunny stop meddling in Jessica’s affairs and let love find its pecking order? And who was that hot guy Jessica’s gay pal Lee (Martin Morrow) went out with; anybody got his phone number?

The one thing I loved about “Recipe” is that it ended before I could actively start hating it – otherwise I would have choked on a chicken bone of bad acting, soapy melodrama and clichés that should have gone to roost centuries ago. I mean, the whole ad/movie/whatever is nothing more than a retelling of Cinderella, except Cinderella ends and “Recipe” doesn’t. That’s right. We might be talking sequel.

Which I’ll skip, by the way, because some things are better left to the digestive tract and “Recipe” is one of ’em.

Still, I won’t seriously criticize either Lifetime or KFC because “Recipe” is played mostly for sillies. Its primary mission is to get people talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken and in that respect it succeeds and then some.

As entertainment I’d give it a C-. As advertising it earns an A+.

And now I hand the conversational baton to Mladen for one of his rigid, doctrinaire rants. Somebody distract me with a two-piece box of extra crunchy please.

Mladen’s take

Del has 16 minutes to live. That’s how long it’ll take me to get to his house to bludgeon him to death with a KFC drumstick. Why must Del be sent to the Great Poultry Processing Plant in the Sky? Because he made me watch “A Recipe for Seduction.”

I chose 16 minutes, by the way, as Del’s remaining duration on Earth, because that is the runtime of “Recipe,” which should be subtitled, “Who the Hell Would Watch this Crap or Spend Money to Make It?”

Del summed the plot or, more accurately, the KFC sales pitch nicely. So, to drive the stake home, I’ll quote a few lines for your benefit. That should be enough to deter you from blowing time watching this used cooking oil of a feature.

Our heroine Jessica, after falling head-over-heels for the Colonel, confesses to her friend, “He tells me that he has a secret recipe that will change the world. I believe in him.”

Jessica’s rich cad of a boyfriend slanders the Colonel by calling him “crouton.” The Colonel responds courageously, “Don’t call me crouton.”

For a moment, I had hope for “Recipe.” It was foolish, my hope. I knew that my hope was foolish even before it bubbled to the surface and burst on the rocks of the advertisement’s G-rating. At one point, Jessica goes to take a shower. I was hoping the camera would follow her in. No luck.

OK. I just spent more than 16 minutes to write this review. That means I’ve wasted at least 32 minutes of my life on this Lifetime TV special. That stops now.

I can’t give “A Recipe for Seduction” a grade. That’s reserved for actual films. What I can do, is give Del a warning. Del, I’m stepping into my car now. See you in 16.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.


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