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Jamón Jamón

Jamón Jamón (1991)

tomatometer

64

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 5

It isn't as provocative or amusing as it pretends to be, but Jamón Jamón's cheerfully overheated melodrama is often its own reward.

40

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 3

It isn't as provocative or amusing as it pretends to be, but Jamón Jamón's cheerfully overheated melodrama is often its own reward.

audience

65

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 5,916

My Rating

Movie Info

Class, sex, and food are the obsessions of this Spanish comedy drama, an international hit from writer and director J.J. Bigas Luna that plays like a cross between the lusty Like Water for Chocolate (1992) and the early work of Pedro Almodovar. In a small town in Spain's arid Monegros region, young underwear factory executive Jose Luis (Jordi Molla) falls in love with the beautiful Silvia (Penelope Cruz), a worker on the shop floor. When Silvia becomes pregnant, Jose Luis wants to marry her, but

R,

Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Cuca Canals, Bigas Luna

Jul 27, 1994

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (5) | DVD (3)

The sex scenes are so bizarre as to be parodic and it all looks terribly ugly. But wonderful vignettes of rural life, and a terrific performance from Pablito the piglet. Ham indeed.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Jamon Jamon" is not quite pop art, and it's not surprising or witty enough to work as satire. It's on a wavelength not easy to tune in.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although possessing a biting wit and excellent sense of the offbeat, too much of Jamon, Jamon follows obvious paths.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie that combines lurid melodrama with vast improbabilities, sexy soap opera with heartfelt romance, and cheerful satire with heedless raunch.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A coarse muddle of melodrama, romance and cautionary tale, the film is chiefly a tribute to throbbing Latin manhood, as cretinous and sophomoric as it is pretentiously surreal.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's provocative and hugely entertaining, a highpoint in the blossoming period of 1990s Spanish cinema.

April 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

It has so much of that sly and deviously wicked sensibility that Bartel's films evidence. Jamon Jamon is a fun and farcical ride.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It wants to be sexy, funny and incisive, but instead it is more overheated and silly.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Jamón Jamón

I preferred Jamon Jamon to most of Lunas's films because it is erotic and sexy without the tastelessness he can be often guilty of (Ages of Lulu). First off, this film made me want to go to Spain, in really is quite seductive. It's also quite funny. Nude bullfighting anyone? That said, it's not an Almodovar film. I know that may seem like an obvious and even lazy comparison but it is hard not to compare the two. The acting is spot on, I didn't care for the story at times and I have to say I did have issues with the possibility of animal cruelty here (I hope I'm wrong). It was funny but not laugh out loud funny. The conclusion was a little too predictable and a little farcical for my liking but still, not bad. As my mother would say, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem had to have got married after that!
October 25, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Silvia (Penèlope Cruz), a beautiful young Spanish woman, prepares omelettes for the workers in the underwear factory owned by José Luis (Jordi Molla)' family. After missing two periods, Silvia reveals to José that she is pregnant expecting him to react negatively. However, to Silvia's surprise and delight, José expresses his love for her and desire for her to go through with the pregnancy. Romantically, he picks up the ring from a soda can he finds on the ground and places it on her finger and tells her they will get married. Despite the apparent monetary worthlessness of this item, Silvia cherishes it and all that it symbolizes.

José has a difficult time explaining to his overbearing and conniving mother that he is in love with Silvia and intends to marry her. José's mother, Conchita, does not approve and when her husband refuses to help her by intervening, she takes matters into her own hands. She hires Raul ( Javier Bardem), an underwear model who works for the family business to seduce Silvia, hoping this will destroy the relationship and prevent the marriage. In spite of several aggressive attempts by Raul to seduce Silvia, she remains committed to marry José. Raúl however, becomes genuinely infatuated with Silvia while Conchita's (Stefania Sandrelli) lust for Raúl leads her to offer him anything he wants if only he has sex with her. Raul's choice is a Yamaha FZR600 motorbike so, despite his apparent lack of interest in Conchita, he becomes her lover.

Meanwhile, José's inability to come to a decision about whether to marry Silvia without his mother's approval, leads to Silvia's deciding she wants a "real man", one who has gumption. She begins to take interest in Raúl. Conchita does not approve of this relationship either because she wants Raúl for herself.

Food as metaphor pervades this witty, sexy, stunning, film. Characters have primal lusts (hungers), which are described with meat and animal imagery. One of Silvia's suitors (Raúl, played by Javier Bardem) is an aspiring bullfighter. There is a scene of nude bullfighting. At the end of the movie, the two characters vying for her affection beat each other with enormous cuts of these ham hocks.

An example of the use of food imagery occurs in an erotic scene between Silvia and José Luis. At one point he gently pulls down her shirt and starts to suck and lick her nipples. The English subtitles are:

Silvia: How come you like eating my tits?
José Luis: I like the way they taste.
S: What do they taste like?
JL: I don't know. Nothing.
S: Is it that they taste like ham omelette?
JL: That would be asking too much: one tasting like an omelette and the other like ham.
S: José Luis...

The Spanish names of these dishes are jamón serrano and tortilla de patatas.

You don't have to be Spanish to get this movie but it surely helps.

It's a bit sad to see so many reviews which so totally miss the point, and none of them from Spain. One negative reviewer even thought the film was set in Mexico which goes to show how much attention he was paying.

This film is a satire on various aspects of Spanish culture and character, primarily machismo and sexual hypocrisy, but taking in culinary preferences, attitudes to animals and those surreal brandy adverts in the shape of bulls that any visitor to Spain will be familiar with. Bigas Luna chucks it all in the stew and turns the heat up to maximum.

And why are so many people upset by the trucks? The film is set next to one of those long dusty highways that are so common in Spain. Of course there are trucks. Take my tip, go to Spain, rent a car, drive between nearly any two big cities, stay in a motel at the side of the road, try and sleep - you will get the idea.
January 28, 2011
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

One reason why I didn't like this movie because of that boob sucking scene. Honestly it seems more like a porn movie. You want to show some reality of life then show it. But why showing these? Retards.
June 5, 2010
3niR
Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

Little seen early Penelope Cruz-Javier Bardem effort but it is tremendous!
February 15, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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Foreign Titles

  • Jamón, Jamón (DE)
  • Jamón, Jamón (UK)
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