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'Recipe' reheats tired fare

May 16, 2003|Lynne Heffley | Times Staff Writer

Add a dash of hysteria, quarts of predictability, a heaping scoop of unoriginality; stir in some stupefyingly unfunny humor and you have the disastrous "Recipe for Disaster," a TV movie airing on the Pax TV network at 8 tonight.

Directed by Harvey Frost and written by William Prop, the film revolves around a family's plunge into the restaurant business. It boasts notable talents John Larroquette and Lesley Ann Warren as headliners, but the billing is deceptive. They're on screen only intermittently in what are essentially extended and thankless one-joke cameos, playing parents who are prevented from showing up at their restaurant's grand opening by a flat tire, papers to sign, a rookie police officer, etc.

Meanwhile, there is a little French-bashing -- literally in one case: The witless French waitress runs off with a leather-clad biker, and the French chef is sleeping off a sudden champagne binge and numerous "accidental" bonks on the head.

This leaves the family's tiresomely bickering children, teen to 'tweens Rebecca (Margo Harshman), Max (Devon Werkheiser) and Sam (Andrew James Allen), to fill in as waitress, maitre d' and cooks, while coping with customers, kitchen disasters and the wincingly obvious, evildoing owners of a competing eatery next door.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 17, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Writer's name -- A review of the Pax TV movie "Recipe for Disaster" in Friday's Calendar misspelled the last name of writer William Propp as Prop.

This "Recipe" isn't complete, however, without a buffoon of a food critic (Melissa Peterman), who dons ludicrous disguises in order to sample the menu; Rebecca's snooty teen nemesis and the boy hottie they both hope to attract; and customers who put up with crass treatment and chaos while going gaga for dishes the kids invent.

The big wow in this half-baked effort? Soup served in a bread loaf.

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