Woman On Top
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

This movie was quite a disappointment.  It stars Penelope Cruz who burst on the scene as the pregnant nun in All About My Mother last year.  She was great in that movie but here she has little to do except look gorgeous which she can accomplish without much effort. The weirdest thing about this film is that it is directed, written and produced by women but if anything it shows Cruz from a very male point of view.  Partially, this is due to the story which concerns Cruz and a lot of men who do little except watch her.  The story begins in Brazil where Cruz is a chef in her husband's restaurant until one day she catches him with another woman. Cruz then decides to move to San Francisco and restart her life.  Here she and her cooking quickly get noticed by every man in the Bay Area and soon she is the star of a popular cooking show.  Needless to say her husband shows up to try and win her back.  Ok so far so good and there are a lot of cute sight gags to do with the fact that Cruz gets motion sickness when she is riding on anything that moves.  But this actually sounds better than the actual movie.  The script is pretty bad and there's a lot of overacting.  Only Cruz and her husband (Murilo Benicio) emerge relatively unscathed.  Benicio is extremely likeable and projects an innocent zest for life so that when he shows up to win Cruz back, you are soon rooting for him even though he's a cad.  Part of this is due to the dopey, wooden American love interest presented to Cruz in the person of her TV producer (Mark Feuerstein).  As I said, this is all presented from the point of view of all these men. Even Cruz's best friend is a man in drag (Harold Perrineau Jr.).  John de Lancie appears in a small role which just made me think about how much I miss him as Q on Star Trek.  The other thing that made this movie watchable is the great soundtrack filled with Brazilian music.  This movie tries unsuccessfully to combine food and love in a sensual way.  Go and rent Eat, Drink, Man, Woman if you want to see this done right. But don't watch it on an empty stomach.  As for Woman On Top, I'd just buy the CD and skip the movie.