Woman on Top (2000)

WOMAN ON TOP is this week's flick, though hardly this week's *pick* 
and really only screened 'cause THE EXORCIST didn't make it to our 
market.  (Warner Brothers sucks.)  Well, that and the lame line-up 
of the last two weeks.  (ALMOST FAMOUS excepted.)  Penelope Cruz 
(ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER) stars in this insipid, instantly forgettable 
romantic comedy about a magical-cooking, motion sickness-afflicted 
(don't ask), blushing young Brazilian bride (Cruz) who walks out on 
her restaurant-running hubby (Murilo Benicio) after catching him in 
the sack with another potato.  If you know what I mean.  She splits 
for the states, San Francisco, where she becomes an overnight sensa-
tion, first as a culinary instructor and then as star of her own TV  
show.  Add a pursuant husband, an enamored producer, and one trans-
vestite roommate (groan) and you've got your movie, albeit one that   
serves only the *teeniest* of ticklish, touching, or tasty portions.  
(You *do* learn how to handle chili peppers, tho...)  

Cruz gets the lion's share of scenes and the rail-thin Spanish bea-
uty is all but eaten alive by the camera.  And sometimes distaste-
fully so, as director Fina Torres lets the camera leer at her as 
openly as the many male characters do.  (Kinda creepy, if you ask 
me.)  Tech credits are shoddy-- the direction's haphazard, the plot 
could care less about logic, errant boom mics appear and disappear, 
and the actors seem so out-of-sync at times that they could've been 
dubbed!  (Lotsa bosso nova on the soundtrack, though, if that's your 
thing...)  What ultimately sinks this souffle is screenwriter Vera 
Blasi's abortive attempt to generate sympathy for the philandering-
and-he's-just-fine-with-that husband.  "When a man truly loves his 
wife, he *never* lets her catch him," advises a friend.  Jeez, you 
can't even *pretend* to give a rat's ass for a guy with an attitude 
like that!  Blech.  With Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Feuerstein, and 
ol' Star Trekker John de Lancie for a few scenes.  (Rated "R"/83 

Grade: D+

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Food Fright

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros