Now available: The 2000 Penelope Cruz vehicle Woman on Top ---
Synopsis: Cruz--who, from childhood, is cursed and blessed respectively with a peculiar kind of motion sickness and a magical culinary genius--navigates the travails of love with Brazilian hunk Murilo Benício (pictured), and takes a bubble-bath with her drag-queen BFF.
Rating: Three (out of five) tropical-print hankies
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Remarks: It's a lightweight romantic comedy--what people chauvinistically call a "chick-flick"--but I like it for three reasons:
- Formally, it's a pagan epic, with a woman cast in the heroic role. Cruz' life turns on her relationship with the Candomblé sea goddess Iemanjá--yet the "hubris" that spurs her transformation is not really hubris at all, but a refusal to conform to unfair external demands. So, in the end, it becomes a myth of liberation.
- I never knew that Harold Perrineau made such a good drag queen! I mostly think of him in fairly cerebral, moderately butch roles (e.g. as the narrator in the prison soap opera Oz, or as Link in The Matrix). Plus, either Cruz is a midget, or Perrineau is a lot taller than I thought.
- Benício is dreamy. Run to him, Penelope, run to him!