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Tortilla Soup

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Tortilla Soup

Starring: Hector Elizondo, Elizabeth Pena
Director: Maria Ripoll
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Julio Oscar Mechoso, Constance Marie, Marisabel Garci, Raquel Welch, Jacqueline Obradors, Nikolai Kinski, Tamara Mello

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Based on the Taiwanese film "Eat Drink Man Woman," this is a savory romantic comedy about the power of love and food in a middle-class Mexican-American family in Los Angeles. As Martin, the patriarch and master chef of the Naranjo family, Hector Elizondo whips up delectable concoctions, including freshly made guacamole, roasted red and yellow peppers, and sizzling plantains. "We honor dinner," he instructs his daughters. "We have good manners and good conversation." Problem is: he can't taste food since his wife's death. And each of the girls has her own angst. The eldest, Letitia, called Letty (Elizabeth Pena), is a repressed schoolteacher who fears God and almost everything else - until a baseball coach (Paul Rodriguez) convinces her that love is, indeed, possible. Feisty Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), a businesswoman, is quick-tempered, perhaps because her heart is really in the kitchen, even though her nouveau recipes jar her father's already-frayed nerves. And the youngest, Maribel (Tamara Mello), is about to leave for college when she meets a handsome Brazilian (Nikolai Kinski, son of Klaus Kinski). Raquel Welch overdoes the wacky neighbor routine but Julio Oscar Mechoso is memorable as Martin's affectionate best-friend and catering business partner. Admittedly, writers Tom Musca, Ramon Menendez & Vera Blasi and director Maria Ripoli don't achieve the sublime success of Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman" - nominated as Best Foreign Language Film of 1994 - but this, nevertheless, is a tantalizing, tasty morsel, extolling traditional family values with the context of the contemporary world. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Tortilla Soup" is a zesty 7. You'll consume this visual feast with gusto - and be ready for a Mexican meal afterwards.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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