A Recipe for Seduction

The creation of fast news and trends means that companies will try and do anything creative and unique to promote their products and brands: the Wendy’s Twitter profile that roasts people, Tropicana creating a giant Sun illumination in Trafalgar Square, Burger King’s meat scented perfume, and Snappes’ stunt gone wrong with the world’s biggest popsicle…that subsequently melted onto the New York City streets due to the heat. However, the crown of weird promotional material has to go to KFC. From a dating simulator game to making a giant KFC logo sign that would be visible from space, KFC have done it all. Even as I type, their April Fools joke about the gaming console that’ll also cook chicken has resurfaced with an advertising campaign. However, the first promotional piece of media to appear from the ‘finger lickin good’ chicken establishment in December was a Lifetime short film.

A Recipe For Seduction is a 15-minute short film that first aired on the Lifetime Channel on 13th December this year. The film revolves around Jessica, a young woman who is forced by her mother to marry a millionaire, Billy, to save them from bankruptcy. However, the marriage plans burn up when she falls for the new chef…Colonel Harland Sanders (played by none other than Saved By The Bell‘s Mario Lopez).

While I am aware of how ridiculous and over-dramatised the movies on this channel are, it is now time to confess that this short film is the first Lifetime film I’ve ever watched. This isn’t a channel that’s readily available in the UK, so I’m glad that it was uploaded to Youtube for the whole world to witness. And being aware of how these films work is something that needs to be known before viewing them. I could comment on the overacting of the characters, the mum’s lack of a poker face and the cheesy dialogue, but these are all aspects that are expected of these films, and they’re not to be taken seriously. And, given the strange plot of someone falling in love with Colonel Sanders and helping him to achieve his dream of unleashing his secret chicken recipe to the world, the melodrama and cheesy dialogue works beautifully.

Another surprising positive is the film’s pacing for the most part. The film is mostly aware of the short time it has to tell its story, so delves into the characters and the main love plot in the first two minutes. This then gives the film space to allow some character development between the small cast that we’re given and the resolutions to the issue that is introduced at the start. Because of the short running time, it also doesn’t require any filler scenes; every scene has a reason for being there. Even if it’s a ridiculous reason, it’s still important to the story.

That’s not to say it’s flawless. While the overacting is excusable in this case, the characters are essentially Disney characters. Credit especially goes to the mother, called Bunny Mancera (yes really), who may as well have been playing the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella. The film seems to hint that Jessica’s fiancé/forced husband-to-be is also dating Bunny, which ultimately begs the question: why does Jessica need to marry him? Surely Bunny can marry Billy, sell the multi-million mansion that the two women live in and get themselves out of debt that way? While A Recipe For Seduction is not to be taken seriously, this is something that boggled my mind.

While the first and even second act flow smoothly, the film takes a dive into the absurdity of kidnapping and torturing our favourite chef in its final act, thus rushing the ending. Usually, my criticism of a film is that it’s too long and needs to be cut down. In this case, however, it was too short and should’ve been 10 minutes longer to explain some of the character’s background, mainly what their jobs were and what lead Jessica’s family into debt.

Overall, A Recipe For Seduction is an odd marketing stunt but, strangely, one I’m thankful for. Most of the aspects in a film that should be critiqued can be given a pass here because of the absurdity of the film’s origins and creation. It’s not a film to be taken seriously, and its fully aware of that. While I would’ve liked some background information on the characters, I’m surprised to say that I enjoyed this fast-food journey. Now, if KFC ever want to do a sequel, maybe they can focus on Jessica’s gay friend Lee!