Tortilla Soup (PG-13)
Samuel Goldwyn Films Official
Site Director: Maria Ripoll Producers: Samuel Goldwyn Jr., John Bard Manulis
and Lulu Zezza Written by: Ang Lee Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus,
Ramon Menendez, Tom Musca, Vera Blasi Cast: Hector Elizondo, Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara
Mello, Elizabeth Pena, Raquel Welch Rating: Reed Oliver - out
As much as I enjoyed EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, I must confess
I didn't really "get" Ang Lee's 1994 comedy of
food and family. TORTILLA SOUP, Maria Ripoll's fantastic
Mexican-American retelling of Lee's script, hits much closer
to home and therefore is likely more enjoyable for the majority
of the intended American audience. A Hispanic family living
in Los Angeles is a lot easier to relate to than a traditional
Chinese family in Taiwan. Now, taking this into account
as well as Lee's enormous stateside popularity resulting
from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, it's no wonder that
Goldwyn Films wanted to cash in on past critically acclaimed
Lee projects and they certainly picked a good one.
The film centers around Martin (Elizondo), a chef and widowed
father of three quite different daughters. Elizondo, whose
best-known character is perhaps the fatherly hotel manager
in PRETTY WOMAN, brings the same warmth and humor to his
role in TORTILLA SOUP. He probably won't be nominated for
any awards for this movie, but he should be. The other standout
performance in the film is Pena's ultra-conservative and
religious Leticia, Martin's oldest daughter. In everything
I've seen her in (even from way back in the day with BATTERIES
NOT INCLUDED), Pena has been excellent and this performance
is no exception. Watch out for her scenes with beau Paul
Rodriguez-they are simultaneously hilarious and touching.
Almost stealing the show away from the actors though, is
the food. Martin's dishes are prepared lovingly and masterfully
and the camera catches every mouth-watering angle, leaving
the audience drooling and wanting to find the nearest taqueria.
If you like Mexican food, the cooking sequences alone are
enough to make this film worth seeing. If Ripoll's film
direction doesn't pan out, she should look for a job at
the Food Network.
But aside from the good performances and savory food sequences,
TORTILLA SOUP is an honest look at family relationships
and family traditions and how the two interact. Every family
has its quirks and it's exactly these little pastimes and
events that make each family different and special. For
the Naranjos of TORTILLA SOUP, a huge and elaborate Sunday
dinner brings them together each week to talk with and about
each other and try to work out the difficulties of being
As good as, if not better than the original Taiwanese version,
TORTILLA SOUP is a film that celebrates and tempts all the
senses and leaves them satisfied. Bring a family member
and remind yourselves that there is no problem so big that
a good meal and good conversation can't fix it.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...