Woman on Top

Woman on Top is a sweet comedy involving very sweet (and good-looking) people. In fact, it's so saccharine that it may make you nauseous, but like a good dessert, the end result can leave you with a satisfied smile on your face.

The gorgeous Penélope Cruz plays Isabella, a young Brazilian girl who also happens to be an awesome cook. The equally attractive Murilo Benicio plays Toninho, her cocky husband who runs the restaurant where she is the chef (and, consequently, her life). Besides her beauty and her culinary skills, Isabella has also been blessed with another positive trait: her motion sickness requires her to be in control in situations involving motion (she leads while dancing; she always drives; and when she has sex, she has to be on top). Personally, that sounds like a relationship made in heaven.

However, Toninho isn't happy with Isabella being in control and, looking to broaden his experiences, decides to get on top of his neighbour without bothering to lock the door. A distraught (guess why) Isabella then flees to San Francisco and moves in with her childhood friend, Monica Jones (Harold Perinneau Jr.), a transvestite with an attitude.

Her beauty and cooking skills soon land her a job on a TV cooking show and she begins her rise to stardom, with the aid of her producer and new admirer, Cliff (Mark Feurstein). As Toninho flies to San Francisco and does his best to win her back, Isabella learns that her new situation with Cliff isn't really that different from her previous life.

It is very easy to be gushing about Cruz who essentially carries the film. Besides her look, her charm and her childlike demeanor are what make the film work: she is seductive, yet innocent. Harold Perrineau Jr. looks extremely good and is hilarious playing a transvestite (this time, he lives at the end), almost stealing the show. The other actors do a decent supporting job. The cinematography is excellent, and the wafting aroma trick that Isabella uses to win the hearts of men is amusing.

Woman on Top is simple film (with a simple motion sickness twist as a plot device) and a good date movie.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org