5.3/10
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89 user 73 critic

Woman on Top (2000)

Trailer
1:47 | Trailer
Brazilian chef Isabella Oliveira moves to San Francisco when her husband, frustrated by her motion sickness, cheats on her.

Director:

Fina Torres

Writer:

Vera Blasi
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penélope Cruz ... Isabella Oliveira (as Penelope Cruz)
Murilo Benício ... Toninho Oliveira
Harold Perrineau ... Monica Jones (as Harold Perrineau Jr.)
Mark Feuerstein ... Cliff Lloyd
John de Lancie ... Alex Reeves (as John De Lancie)
Anne Ramsay ... TV Director
Ana Gasteyer ... Claudia Hunter
Analu De Castro Analu De Castro ... Little Isabella - Age 2
Thais De Sá Curvelo Thais De Sá Curvelo ... Little Isabella - Age 5
Eliana Guttman Eliana Guttman ... Isabella's Mother
Eduardo Mattedi Eduardo Mattedi ... Isabella's Father
Ana Paula Oliveira Ana Paula Oliveira ... Cook
Marilice Santos Marilice Santos ... Sexy Neighbor
Giba Conceição Giba Conceição ... Troubadour #1
Joaquim Pinto Joaquim Pinto ... Troubadour #2
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Storyline

Plagued by chronic motion sickness, Isabella--a sultry Brazilian belle, and a gifted chef--needs to be in control in every aspect of her life: in her car; in the kitchen; on the dance floor, and of course, during sex. Needless to say, this confusing situation drives Isabella's husband, Toninho, crazy--and after one infidelity too many--the feisty young woman decides to do what she knows best: take over the reins of her life, and move to San Francisco. There, a brilliant career as the presenter of her TV cooking show awaits Isabella--and for the first time in a long while--she feels loved. Will guilty Toninho realise what he's lost? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In This Sexy Comedy, She's Moving Up Where She Belongs... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Portuguese

Release Date:

22 September 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Woman on Top See more »

Filming Locations:

Bahia, Brazil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,008,191, 24 September 2000

Gross USA:

$5,020,111

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,194,274
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Harold Perrineau ("Monica") is actually straight. He and his wife Brittany (a model) have three children, including actress Aurora Perrineau. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, when trying to salvage the souffle, they bring out a box of Kraft-like "Cheese and Macarroni". Should be "Macaroni". See more »

Quotes

Toninho: [explaining to his wife why he cheated on her] Isabella! Isabella! I'm a man! I have to be on top SOMETIMES!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paquita Salas: Casada con esto (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Chorando para Pixinguinha
Written by Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes
Performed by Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes
Courtesy of Universal Music Ltda.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Tasty Dish, but more of just a side dish
27 March 2006 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

WOMAN ON TOP is one of those films that was made, publicized and viewed as pastiche and because of its honesty as a simple romantic comedy, it rates higher than many of the over the top and overproduced competitors. The film is colorful, filled with wonderful Bossa Nova music, and has enough eye candy to almost make you forget the main dishes! Isabella Oliveira (Penélope Cruz) lives in Bahia, Brazil totally in love with Toninho Oliveira (Murilo Benício) where the two have a restaurant featuring Isabella's passionate cooking and Toninho's macho front man role. Isabella has a problem: motion sickness - she cannot fly, ride in a car, or assume the bottom position during sex or she becomes violently ill (it seems that the sea goddess compensated her problem by making her an inimitable chef). All is well until Toninho has a brief affair that drives the crushed Isabella to move to San Francisco alone despite her love for Toninho. There she moves in with her old friend Monica from Bahia (Harold Perrineau as a superbly enacted crossed dressed drag queen) and begins her unsuccessful search for a job. In order to overcome her longing for Toninho and regain her culinary skills she makes a pact with the sea goddess, forsaking ever loving Toninho again. Eventually Isabella lands a TV show on Passionate Cooking when desperate producer Cliff (Mark Feuerstein) gets a whiff of her talent. She is an immediate success. Meanwhile Toninho, unable to endure life in Bahia without Isabella, flies to San Francisco and begins a series of Bossa Nova serenades to win her back. Cliff places Toninho on Isabella's show as background music and the ratings soar. But it is the ultimately the conflict resolution between Isabella and Toninho that brings the story to its expected end.

The story may be light and the script may be pedestrian, but the direction and camera work suffuse this film with Latin American magical realism and that keeps it lighthearted and fun. Cruz is terrific, Perrineau is the true star of the show displaying a sophisticated and sensitive acting skill that is very special, and Murilo Benício is not only a hunk and eye candy but also a fine singer and a warm actor who deserves a lot of attention. Story five, stars six. Have fun with this one! Grady Harp, March 06


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