Woman On Top Fina Torres
Published Sep 01, 2000"Woman on Top" is in many ways similar to, but in no way as good as, "Like Water for Chocolate." Like a poor cousin, the two share many traits, but "Water for Chocolate" is richer by far. Both share a vision of the world brightened with the silver tinge of magical realism, but Water for Chocolate's" shimmers more brilliantly. Both entice the audience with sumptuous recipes, but the cuisine served up by "Water for Chocolate" is more tantalising and satisfying. It's effects on both the characters in the movie and the audience are more pleasing. The food in like "Water for Chocolate" is also more nutritious, "Woman on Top," though a lot of fun to watch, serves up mostly empty calories. Both movies also feature women struggling to gain control of their lives. But "Woman on Top's" struggle is rather superficial. When Isabella Oliveira (Penélope Cruz) finds her husband (Murilo Benício) cheating on her, she heads to San Francisco and moves in with her childhood friend Monica (Harold Parrineau Jr. of "Oz"). A chef, she gets approached by a television producer, to star in her own TV show. Things heat up when her husband shows up on the set unexpectedly and gets hired to sing on the show. When the local show becomes a hit, the network descends and begins tampering and cheezing things up. They ask her to tone down her spicy cooking, dress Isabella in what she considers an inappropriate outfit, and go in for tight shots of her bosom. She is insulted. But when the show was still in Isabella's control, her outfits were already low cut. Still, "Woman on Top" is very entertaining. Like most things with empty calories, it tastes good, even if it doesn't offer much sustenance.