To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, A Recipe for Seduction is a good example of the fun that can be had while filmmaking. In what feels like a fan film made for YouTube, this original Lifetime mini-movie (which is sponsored by KFC) tells the story of a young heiress named Jessica Mancera, who struggles to choose between pleasing her mother by accepting the engagement of her wealthy boyfriend Billy or seeking a relationship with their new live-in chef Harland Sanders all during the Christmas season. The film stars Mario Lopez, Justene Alpert, Tessa Munro, and Chad Doreck.
The story is straight out of a soap opera. The lines are cheesy and the acting can be over the top with actors going the extra mile even when they are given the smallest amount of screen time. This is part of what makes the film enjoyable. The actors are serious, but not too serious. The actors turn in fine performances the standouts are Mario Lopez as a fictionalized Harland Sanders and Chad Doreck as Billy Garibaldi III. Mario Lopez’s take on Sanders is very calm and reserved. His background as a private chef is a far cry from the entrepreneurial background of the actual Colonel Sanders. This fictional Sanders is a man with a dream to own his own restaurant and has a special secret fried chicken recipe that will get him there. He takes a liking to Jessica as soon as they meet and she seems to return his affections. The chemistry between Sanders and Mancera is believable even if a bit rushed. Chad Doreck on the other hand is very snobbish and bombastic as Billy. Spouting lines such as “Times up chicken man” and “get back to the kitchen” makes him a character that’s easy to dislike. Clearly, someone who is affluent, Billy is shown to only care about Jessica as a trophy he can win, and because of his previous relationship with her mother Bunny. He has immediate friction with Harland thinking of him only as the help and not competition.
My main issue with the film the runtime. At only 15 minutes you barely get to know the characters or their backgrounds. This is probably due to the film being mostly as an extended joke/ad for the holidays to get people to think about and purchase KFC, but it could’ve been so much more. Using a fictionalized version of a very popular franchise progenitor actually makes for a very interesting story and having an actor portray an exaggerated Harland Sanders is nothing new as KFC has been doing it in commercials for years with actors such as Ray Liotta, Billy Zane, Rob Lowe, and many more. All they had to do was increase the runtime by about an hour and they could’ve had a very original feature film. Not to say there won’t be another adaptation later. Maybe this will open the door for Lifetime to make more mini-movies about Wendy, Ronald McDonald, Burger King, Jack, Little Caesar, etc. I give A Recipe for Seduction a Solid 6/10.