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WOMAN ON TOP

SYNOPSIS:
When Isabella Oliveira (Penelope Cruz) discovers her husband Toninho (Murilo Benício) is unfaithful, she asks a spell-maker to cast a spell, to help her get over him. She leaves her husband's restaurant, where she is Chef and ventures to San Francisco to stay with her best friend Monica (Harold Perrineau Jr.), a vibrant transvestite. But Isabella's charms as well as culinary talents come to the attention of Cliff Lloyd (Mark Feuerstein), an ambitious TV executive, who believes that Isabella should have her own cooking show. When Toninho, filled with remorse and longing, comes looking for Isabella, the spell is still active – and the tv studio becomes a setting for the romantic showdown.

"Romantic, magical and absolutely delightful, Woman on Top is a delicious adventure of the senses – Brazil style. And yes, Brazil is much more than a country – it's a melting pot of exquisite sensations from its soul-satisfying rhythmic music to its culinary temptations and shapely star Penelope Cruz. Cruz is red hot – just like the hottest of chillis – oozing sexual energy naturally and effortlessly. I felt as though the music hijacked my soul and took it all the way to the land of the samba. The music is absolutely integral to the film and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you feel compelled to rush to the nearest music store and pick up the soundtrack. This is the music that dreams are made of – all wrapped up in a hypnotic package. Love, motion-sickness and the art of cooking; it's love at first bite. We are bewitched, and it's not just from the spells and power of voodoo. The characters are colourful and irresistible; from scene stealing Monica, the outrageous transvestite to the doe-eyed charismatic hunk of a husband. Just as our taste buds were stimulated by Like Water for Chocolate, Woman on Top is a fairy tale for the senses and any flaws are easily forgiven. With a script as light as a souffle, there are many wonderful moments, and some great lines. 'That much butter could kill a guy' an onlooker comments as he watches Isabella cooking up a storm. Another notes: 'That much woman could kill a guy…' Cheeky, playful and simply delicious, Woman on Top is a sure-fire recipe for enchantment. Go taste!"
Louise Keller

"A little less enthusiastic than Louise, I am nevertheless the first to admit the film has charm and entertainment value. The fact that it didn’t quite blind me to its flaws may be a sign that I need a holiday. Loosen up. Go with the flow. Take a spell, as it were. Whatever the faults of the film – odd continuity here and there and a sometimes flimsy script – there are enough highlights and high jinks to make it worthwhile. Unless you’re feeling as grumpy as me…. Cruz is a juicy Isabella, certainly full of sexuality and the joy of womanhood. The settings are exotic – even San Francisco – and the outrageous Monica adds a spicy flavour to this movie meal."
Andrew L. Urban

 

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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TRAILER

WOMAN ON TOP (M)
(US)

CAST: Penélope Cruz, Murilo Benício, Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Feuerstein

DIRECTOR: Fina Torres

PRODUCER: Alan Poul
SCRIPT: Vera Blasi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thierry Arbogast
EDITOR: Leslie Jones
MUSIC: Luis Enríquez Bacalov
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philippe Chiffre
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 1, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Ent
VIDEO RELEASE: July 18, 2001







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