5.3/10
9,093
87 user 72 critic

Woman on Top (2000)

Brazilian chef Isabella Oliveira moves to San Francisco when her husband, frustrated by her motion sickness, cheats on her.

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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Isabella is a great cook, making her husband's restaurant in Bahia, Brazil, a success. To control her motion sickness, she must do the driving and be on top during sex, which drives her macho husband, Toninho, to infidelities. Heart-broken, she leaves for San Francisco, moving in with her childhood friend, Monica, a cross-dresser. To mend her heart, she makes an offering to Yemanja, the goddess of the sea. The goddess responds: Isabella no longer loves and the fish in Bahia no longer bite. Stricken, Toninho heads north to get her back; he finds her hosting a popular TV show, Passion Food, courted by its producer. Can he learn humility? Can she find happiness without him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a sexy comedy that turns happily ever after upside down. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

22 September 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las mujeres arriba  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,008,191, 24 September 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,018,450, 26 November 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All interiors for the San Francisco scenes were shot in soundstages in Brazil. See more »

Goofs

The left shoulder of Isabella's red dress outside the TV studio. See more »

Quotes

Monica Jones: Melons are like boyfriends. Shall I tell you why? To get a single good one you must one hundred try.
See more »

Connections

References Mad About You (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Cajuína
Written by Caetano Veloso
Performed by Banda Mel
Courtesy of Universal Music Ltda. & Warner Music Brasil Ltda./Continental East-West
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User Reviews

 
A Tasty Dish, but more of just a side dish
27 March 2006 | by See 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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