By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 13, 2020 at 8:56 PM

Just when you thought you'd seen it all this year, here comes Lifetime and KFC with a brand new micro-movie about Sexy Colonel Sanders, played by Mario Lopez.

Yes, that grab bag of proper nouns is all real. Somebody pitched this concept. Somebody somehow said yes to this mutated product placement run amok. And then, amazingly, against all logic, people were paid to write, direct and act in a film about Sexy Colonel Sanders ruining a snob's marriage plans and almost getting murdered as a result. It is wild – and somehow, wildest of all, "A Recipe for Seduction" is totally straight-faced. It is a totally (OK, somewhat) legit, professionally crafted classic Lifetime mini melodrama about deceitful families, dangerous romances, devious wealth and also a handsome chef who makes a mean bucket of fried chicken.

"50 Herbs and Spices of Grey" opens with a message telling the audience that the following program is presented by KFC. NO, WHAAAA!? You're telling me this Lifetime movie starring Colonel Sanders and a "secret recipe," where the first several lines of dialogue are about tasty chicken, might be sponsored content?! And here I was thinking it was based on a Cormac McCarthy novel.

"A Recipe for Seduction" even comes complete with credits, noting the director as "Jean." Just "Jean." A wise move – if i directed a KFC Lifetime movie, I'd want to keep my identity as secret as possible too.

During a delicious holiday dinner of Some Unnamed Company's Delicious Chicken, a snooty prat named Billy Garibaldi III proposes to Jessica, a heiress – though all she's inheriting from her mom is unpaid bills. She's not interested in marrying the worst person, though, so she gives his proposal some cold silence. She has a hunger for something more – and not just more of that delicious fried chicken combo meal on the kitchen table. What impressive and handsome fast food chain man could be behind such a culinary masterpiece?

Enter the new chef: Harland Sanders, played by Mario Lopez, decked out in white facial hair, a white clothes, a black tie, the ripped arms of a man who hasn't eaten many of his own combo meals and unfortunately no Southern drawl. Where's your commitment to the role, A.C. Slater!? He's also not a colonel, a surprising departure from the rest of the KFC Expanded Universe canon.

While unloading fresh veggies and other healthy ingredients you'd never find in a KFC, he goes for a walk with Jessica, and the two fall in love over Harland's passion for his secret recipe that he believes might change the world. Oh, it will change the world alright – at least certainly its arteries. You only briefly glimpse this majestic secret dish, but I'd like to think it's actually for the KFC Double Down.

Unfortunately, Jessica's mother and Billy see this flirtation and decide they must put it to a stop. For one, Billy's rich, so that'll help pay off the family's bills – and also Jessica's mother is into Billy. Why wouldn't she just marry him to take care of the money woes? He seems into it! I'm starting to think this KFC-sponsored Lifetime movie might not have an airtight plot! So the two go about trying to manipulate Harland and Jessica into going their separate ways – even stealing a look at poor Harland's beloved recipe. How dare you, Billy! Who do you think you are – Zaxby's?

Even that doesn't work though, so there's only one rational choice left for Billy and Jessica's mom: MURDER. Yep, KFC wants its mascot driving someone insane enough to attempt manslaughter. Because nothing stirs up a hunger for classic American fried chicken like homicide. 

After clubbing Jessica's friend Lee over the head and hiding him away so he can't reveal their secret, our two villains kidnap Harland ... though not well. He's just tucked away in the garage – the movie takes place all in one house, which is about as much as a KFC Lifetime movie deserves – close enough where Jessica can hear him squirming and find him duct taped to a chair. After an exchange even more heated than KFC's Nashville hot chicken, Jessica's mom goads Billy into killing Harland Sanders, but before he can actually stab him to death, Lee – he's alive! – returns the clubbing favor, and everyone escapes. And as some gravy on top, Jessica and Harland get happily married a year later.

And that's how the first KFC was born. (Not really.)

Meanwhile, Jessica's mom is in a psych ward where Billy visits, setting up a sequel. WAIT, A SEQUEL!? We're making a franchise of KFC mini-movies? This is the sign of a diseased culture ... unless it's called "2 Fast 2 Finger-Lickin' Good," which in that case give them the Best Picture Oscar. 

In the end, it's goofy – but not how you expect as it's truly a Lifetime romantic thriller that just happens to feature one of fast food's most iconic characters. Much like Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig's Lifetime movie from five years ago, there's not really any jokes or gags besides the fact that it exists. It's just straight-up a cheap and silly melodramatic Lifetime movie, a 15-minute sprint through all of the channel's famed ridiculous cliches ... with one of the world's most famous fried chicken peddlers and his white goatee along for the overly dramatic ride. 

Wait, only 15 minutes long? With no commercials? (Well, minus the fact that it's already one big, extremely odd commercial, though you never even see or hear the letters "KFC" during the entire thing.) I take everything back; I guess this is the best Lifetime movie ever made. I wish all Lifetime and Hallmark movies were this length!

Anyways, here's to "A Recipe for Seduction 2: Popeye's Revenge" next year.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.