The scent of a woman is vanilla in this unappetising confection, with a title thats just begging for sarcasm. Take the premise: bad cook and failing restaurateur Amanda finds herself in a food market where she is persuaded by a mysterious fishmonger - who any veteran of the fantasy romcom genre will instantly peg as an angel - to acquire a very special crab.
The crustacean turns out to be an agent of supernatural intervention, since it escapes the cookpot thereafter to lurk in Amandas kitchen - and suddenly she becomes the master chef of Manhattan. In a shameless steal from Like Water For Chocolate, her emotions find expression in her recipes. She sheds tears into a mixing bowl and rapturous diners blub. Her desire for uptown gourmet restaurant manager, Tom (Flanery), turns her caramel eclairs into an aphrodisiac sensation - her TriBeCa bistro blooms, and Tom cant get enough of her vanilla kisses.
In a desperate attempt to raise a plot from this half baked set-up, ingredients are thrown in with little concern for logic and absolutely no flair for comedy. By way of homage to the kind of 40s romances where department store mannequins turn into Ava Gardner, theres even a dance number, for which the hapless Gellar and Flanery appear to have left feet to spare.
Unimaginatively contrived when it wants to be charming, embarrassingly clumsy when it tries to be enchanting, this baloney proves yet again that two personable leads need to have something to work with beyond sex appeal and designer outfits. Simply excruciating.