Woman on Top
A young Brazillian wife with motion sickness who's a genius in the kitchen (Penelope Cruz) catches her husband (Murilo Benício) in bed with another woman; he's apparently frustrated because her motion sickness means that a lot of the relationship is on her terms, most notably in bed. Crushed, she flees to San Francisco to be with her transvestite pal (Harold Perrineau Jr.) and becomes a famous TV chef in about three days. The distraught husband tracks his wife to San Fran, finds men drooling over her televised visage, and worms his way into a supporting role in the show (!); wackiness ensues. Such is the tale of Woman on Top, a wannabe "magic realism" romantic comedy directed by Fina Torres. Titular star Cruz is utterly fetching, even when she vomits. The Latin music is sensual and light, and the actors play their parts with a confident, gentle touch (among the supporting cast is Star Trek's "Q," John de Lancie). However, the humor, script, cinematography and visual metaphors are, well, pretty damned weak romance-novel weak, to be precise, which is of course not an accident. And Woman on Top misses the mark on a lot of male-female relationship details during one of the emotional climaxes of the film, the husband tells Cruz as an act of redemption, "I want you to drive! I want you on top!" Now hold on: Much as one may cherish a chick pipe dream being depicted on film, it must be noted that that he was already letting her do these things as the film began, and it drove him into an adulterer's bed! Can this marriage really be saved without years of counseling and a good rabbi? Fox's DVD release of Woman on Top offers a clean anamorphic transfer, with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English) and Dolby 2.0 Surround (English, French). American and international trailers, three TV spots, recipe booklet. Keep-case.