Woman On Top

by MATTHEW BOND, Mail on Sunday

Penelope Cruz is gorgeous. Yet she has an imperfect face: her large nose seems at odds with that gash of a mouth and its swollen lips, making her resemble one of Picasso's more flattering portraits of Jacqueline, where the flaws accentuate the beauty.

I knew this before I saw Woman On Top, having seen the film, I know nothing more about life, the universe or anything.

Penelope is Isabella, a gifted Brazilian cook who leaves her cheating husband for San Francisco where she lands a TV cookery show and makes everyone dribble.

She talks of 'plump tomatoes' as the camera covers her cleavage and, for a while, it's a colourful comic absurdity that's easy on the eye and the brain.

Her shamed husband follows her and croons bossa nova classics in the background, which boosts ratings and gives us a decent soundtrack.

In one neat scene, a line of gawping males samba after Penelope down a sloping street, although surely most men in San Francisco would probably want to ask her where she got those fabulous shoes.

The film's deodorant commercial breeziness wears off when the plot has to be resolved and when Isabella's transsexual best friend tells jokes.

But the verve of the chilli-red lipstick, jungle-lush hair and tight, red vest-tops that make up this Penelope Cruz Calendar just about pull us through.

Click below for more reviews of this film.

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