Take Footloose and Like Water for Chocolate, steep the combo in a heaping helping of corn syrup, and you'll come out with the sticky, sickly-sweet romantic cautionary tale Chocolat. The Cider House Rules director Lasse Hallström helms this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Joanne Harris, and delivers yet another pretty package of tempered social messages -- this time preaching about social tolerance instead of abortion.

Set against the idyllic backdrop of a quaint puritanical village in the French countryside, mysterious Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter, dressed in identical Red Riding Hood outfits, literally blow into town "on the North Wind." Within days, the duo brazenly opens a magical chocolaterie across the street -- gasp -- from the church, and on the first week of Lent, no less. Vianne -- who comes off as a 50's-era Erin Brockovich sporting low-cut tops and bright red stilettos -- is turning the townsfolk on to her sweets, which a la Pleasantville miraculously inspire increased sex drives, feminist awakenings, familial reconciliation and even criminal rehabilitation. Soon, the town's prudish mayor launches a campaign to drive the sin-inducing shop out of business.

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