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"WOMAN ON TOP"
(2000) (Penelope Cruz, Murilo Benício) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Mild Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A beautiful Brazilian chef leaves her adulterous husband and tries to make a go of it in America, only to find that he's followed her, hoping to rekindle their relationship.
PLOT:
Isabella (PENELOPE CRUZ) and Toninho Oliveira (MURILO BENÍCIO) are a married Brazilian couple who are passionately in love with each other and run a successful seaside restaurant. Only two problems mar their marriage. For one, she's grown tired of him reaping the fame and attention for their eatery when it's her food, which she prepares in the tucked away kitchen, that everyone loves.

Then there's the fact that due to her proclivity for terrible motion sickness she must be in control of everything they do, including making love. He eventually becomes tired of this and she then finds him in bed with another woman. She immediately packs her bags, flies off to America to live with her friend Monica Jones (HAROLD PERRINEAU, JR.), a flamboyant transsexual, and appeals to Yemanja - the goddess of the sea - to forever erase her love regarding Toninho.

Once in San Francisco and the company of Monica, Isabella sets out looking for a chef's job. Although she isn't successful at that, she manages to lure in Cliff Lloyd (MARK FEUERSTEIN), an ambitious TV producer who falls for both her beauty and the aroma of her cooking. Convincing the station manager, Alex Reeves (JOHN DE LANCIE), to put Isabella on TV in her own cooking show, Cliff creates a ratings sensation, "Passion Food Live."

While everything seems great for Isabella, things become complicated when Toninho abandons his restaurant, tracks her down and then gets himself and his traveling band of troubadours on her show. With Toninho trying to reconcile their marriage and Cliff trying to put his own moves on her, Isabella must decide what's right for her.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of Cruz, someone else in the cast or Latin-flavored films, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some strong sexuality and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PENELOPE CRUZ plays a beautiful Brazilian chef who's prone to motion sickness and leaves her husband after she catches him in bed with another woman. She then travels to San Francisco where she starts her life anew, but must then choose whether to get involved with anyone, including Cliff and even Toninho who wants her back.
  • MURILO BENÍCIO plays her husband who has an affair and takes all of the glory for her cooking. Once she leaves him, however, he follows her to America where he asks for forgiveness and promises to change his ways.
  • HAROLD PERRINEAU, JR. plays Isabella's transsexual best friend who lets her stay at his/her place and uses some strong profanity.
  • MARK FEUERSTEIN plays a TV producer who gets Isabella a TV cooking show and falls for her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. Several sexual/sensuous encounters are seen and include movement, sounds and some nudity, while a woman briefly has something of a solo amorous encounter with a photo. Some brief, but explicit sexually related dialogue is present, while the camera (and men's eyes) often focuses on the protagonist's shapely body, and some comic references are made to the size of male genitalia. A supporting character is a transsexual (a man behaving/dressing like a woman).

    Profanity is rated as heavy due to the use of at least 4 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including a married man who has an affair), while certain characters also drink during the film, and the protagonist occasionally vomits due to suffering from motion sickness. Meanwhile, some brief and non-explicit violence occurs in the form of some punching and hitting.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your house who may wish to see it, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed content listings.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light occurring on the screen, some of that briefly appears in a thunderstorm that occurs at night.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some miscellaneous men may be drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Toninho and some friends of his drink beer.
  • People have drinks in bar, including Toninho who orders whiskey.
  • Members of the TV show, including Isabella and Cliff, celebrate with drinks after their show.
  • Toninho has a shot of liquor in front of him in a bar.
  • People have wine in a restaurant.
  • People drink in a bar.
  • Monica tells Isabella, "Let's go home and get wasted." Later, we see the two of them passed out or asleep on the floor with many bottles around them.
  • Isabella and Toninho have wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a flashback of some vomit being propelled out of a car window (from Isabella as a child and due to motion sickness).
  • Isabella's finger is rather bloody after she accidentally cuts it during a cooking class.
  • We hear and partially see Isabella vomit after riding a cable car (and getting motion sickness).
  • We briefly hear Isabella vomit (from more motion sickness).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We see in flashback that Toninho took all of the credit for Isabella's culinary work.
  • We also see him fed up with her always having to be in control (particularly related to sex) and she then catches him having an affair with another woman (he defends this by saying that he's a man and he has to be on top sometimes).
  • Those who object to magic spells and "voodoo," etc. may not like scenes where various people enact spells and such as related to romance.
  • The owner of a restaurant is demeaning to Isabella when she visits looking for a job (thinking she could only work washing dishes).
  • Cliff reports to Isabella that Alex has stated that Toninho will be on her show or else they'll simply replace her or cancel the show.
  • He later reports that Alex and/or national executives wanted Isabella to wear something "less ethnic" and we then see that they simply want to see the program as "T & A" rather than a cooking show.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Go to hell," "Jerks you around," "Shut up," "Retard," "Idiot," "What the hell?" "Moron," "Bloody," "Freak" and "Creep."
  • A minor character has a pierced nose and area just below his lower lip.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • Due to some occasionally strong accents, there could be more profanity than what's listed her (including several possible "s" words). That said, there are at least 4 "f" words (used sexually), 1 slang term for breasts ("coconuts"), 5 hells, 2 damns, 1 ass (written), 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "God," and 1 use each of "Christ," "My God," "Oh Lord," "Good Lord" and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • On several occasions, we see statues or paintings of Yemanja, the goddess of the sea, who's represented as a traditional topless mermaid of sorts (we see bare breasts).
  • In a flashback, we see Toninho and Isabella making out in a head and shoulders shot. We then see them having sex with him on top of her with some movement (not terribly explicit) and then a full shot of their bodies rolling over as she gets on top of him (as the narrator says that she always had to be on top) and we then see her on top of him (we see her bare back, some movement, the top of her bare breasts and hear sexual sounds). After they've had sex, we see her bare back in bed and see him sitting up nude (with his back to us but nothing explicit).
  • Isabella discovers Toninho having sex with another woman (we see her bare breast as well as him between her legs with some movement).
  • We see a flashback of Toninho sensuously rubbing a small pepper across Isabella's lips and the two of them then passionately making out. We then see another one where she's partly lying on him and pours some sort of oil on his bare chest that she then licks off (she also licks his neck).
  • Isabella looks at a photo of Toninho and then slowly and somewhat sensuously runs it down her body until it stops near her crotch as she begins to writhe around a bit (she falls off the sofa, however, ending her fantasy).
  • A TV anchor talks about someone making wonderful love.
  • Monica is really a cross-dressing man and we see him/her and Isabella together in a bubble bath (although just as friends and nothing sexual occurs between them - we do, however, see Isabella's bare back and part of the side of her bare breast).
  • Monica talks about something (possibly men) being like animals on the Discovery Channel and that all they think is "f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck." We then very briefly see some small photos of what he did to some man (something resembling artwork on his body) and see that the subject's crotch area is barely covered.
  • As many men follow Isabella down the street, the camera briefly focuses only on her clothed butt in the sundress she's wearing. As she walks by some limp flowers, they suddenly go erect.
  • On TV, we see the camera briefly focused in tight on Isabella's cleavage.
  • After Toninho announces that the woman on a bar TV is his wife, a nearby man jokingly asks if he works her with his fingers until she's plump (or something like that).
  • A cabbie mentions that her girlfriend is a stripper (after asking Toninho if his is the same).
  • We see Monica in his/her feminine underwear, bra and see-through negligee.
  • Cliff asks Monica what Isabella sees in Toninho and he holds his hands apart to suggest penis size (after replying that he's charming and sings like an angel), but then adds that he's joking. Later, he does the same thing when Toninho asks what Isabella sees in Cliff (the holding the hands apart to indicate size).
  • Monica asks Toninho that if he loves Isabella so much, "Why are you parking the welcome wagon at the neighbors?"
  • Isabella pulls Cliff into her place and begins making out with him, removing his jacket. He then removes his tie and lies down on her on the sofa where they continue to make out (still clothed). They then roll off the sofa to the floor where she lies on top of him and they continue to make out, but he eventually stops them when he realizes that she still has feelings for Toninho.
  • Isabella shows more cleavage in a low cut outfit she wears (and the camera again briefly focuses on her breasts).
  • From the side, we briefly see Isabella sitting nude on top of Toninho as he lies on a bed. As such, we see the side of her bare butt, and part of her bare back and belly as she sexually moves on top of him and they kiss.
  • SMOKING
  • A photographer smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Toninho's affair puts a strain on his and Isabella's relationship, with her eventually fleeing the country and wishing to end their marriage. He then follows and pursues her, telling her that she can't leave (more of a plea than a demand), but she wants nothing to do with him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether Isabella should have forgiven Toninho or not for him having an affair.
  • Monica's cross-dressing (she's a guy who dresses like a woman).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Cliff accidentally falls off his treadmill (apparently bumping his head since we see a small bandage on it later).
  • Toninho punches a man in a bar for making a disparaging remark. That man then tries to hit Toninho back, but ends up hitting someone else, briefly starting a mini-barroom brawl (only partially and very briefly seen).
  • Mad at him for "crashing" her TV show, Isabella elbows Toninho in the gut or crotch (we don't see the impact, and only see him briefly double over). Once the security guards arrive to escort him away, he briefly elbows one of them in the gut, sending the man doubled over on the floor. The other guards then remove Toninho.
  • Monica drops Cliff's watch out a window and we then hear a cat squeal (in that stereotypical sounding way suggesting the watch hit the cat).
  • Cliff pelts Toninho with pieces of fruit.



  • Reviewed August 28, 2000 / Posted September 22, 2000

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