Have you ever wondered about the sex life of Col. Harland Sanders, the mastermind behind Kentucky Fried Chicken and its 27 herbs and spices? Me neither. But that didn’t stop KFC and Lifetime from releasing a romantic movie so greasy that all the napkins in the world couldn’t sop up the mushiness.
The 15-minute Christmas movie, an extreme exercise in branded content, is titled “A Recipe for Seduction,” and it is finger-licking-good just how bad it is. Go get yourself a $20 Fill Up Bucket and settle in because this one’s a doozy.
The short film begins with a group sitting around a Christmas dinner table. When one of the guests remarks on the quality of the chicken, a woman, clearly the host, attributes the meal to her new chef. The stage is set, but for what, we remain unsure. The thin veneer of situational causality here is one that toes the line between telenovela-like drama and what might happen before a porno.
The main character, Jessica Mancera (Justene Alpert), is a beautiful brunette currently dating Billy (Chad Doreck), the preppy heir-apparent to the Garibaldi fortune. His affection for her, however, clearly runs much deeper than her feelings for him. Hosted by Jessica’s recently widowed mother Bunny, the meal is attended by Billy’s parents and her gay bestie Lee. No more 60 seconds into the film, Billy proposes.
Jessica, whose eyes scream, “Help, I’m about to marry the human equivalent of a golf bag,” says she needs time to think about it. The next morning, Bunny beseeches Jessica to marry Billy because her late husband has left them penniless in his death. The Garibaldi fortune is the only thing that can save the family from ruin and scandal. This weighs heavily on Jessica, as she wants to help her mother but also craves true love.
Enter Col. Harland Sanders, played by none other than Mario Lopez. Who knew the “Saved by the Bell” hottie would someday grow into a white-bearded chicken wizard, but I digress. He’s only recently been hired as a personal chef, despite Bunny’s money troubles.
Jessica is instantly attracted to the colonel. After just one conversation about his “secret recipe” she tells Lee on the phone that she is falling for Harland, who, for some reason, never once mentions his military service or how he became a colonel.
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Bunny overhears this and steals Jessica’s phone, texting Billy to meet up at the country club, of course.
They scheme there together to get rid of Harland, and in doing so, reveal that they have been having an affair. Lee, on a date at the same country club, overhears, and immediately leaves to tell Jessica of the dastardly plan.
This probably could all have been solved if Bunny just married Billy, but then again, what do I know about storytelling?
Instead, Bunny clubs Lee over the head and drags his body away. Is he dead? It’s uncertain.
In the meantime, Billy seemingly finds and steals Harland’s secret recipe, then offers him a fat check to disappear. He also lies to him, saying Jessica has accepted his proposal.
Harland is heartbroken, but only for a moment. Jessica quickly sets the record straight and the pair kiss. Their bliss is short-lived, however, as Billy and Bunny lock Harland in a cellar somewhere on the property — presumably the same place Lee vanished — and tell Jessica he fled in the night.
Distraught and pacing the yard, Jessica hears a noise and stumbles upon the shed where Harland is being held captive, a place Billy plans to carry out a murder as her mother enthusiastically encourages some casual Christmas homicide.
Luckily for the lovebirds, Lee is alive. Hiding in the corner, he rescues Harland at the last minute. After a scuffle, Bunny and Billy are both knocked unconscious.
Harland and Jessica are finally free to dive head first into a bucket of love … and chicken. Sometime later, they marry. Everything is gravy … or is it?
At what appears to be an asylum of some sort, Billy is visiting Bunny. He says he’s found Harland and Jessica (were they hiding?) as he bites ominously into a crispy drumstick.
If this is what goes into a recipe for seduction, I’d rather be hungry, single and alone … which isn’t hard seeing as I’m already checking all three of those boxes.
About Sarah Sicard
Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.