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Woman on Top (2000)



Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 97
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 64

Despite Penelope Cruz's beauty and charm, the movie is too tepid to be a romance and too silly to be believable. And the movie is too eager to please with an ending that seems more like a cop out.


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 21

Despite Penelope Cruz's beauty and charm, the movie is too tepid to be a romance and too silly to be believable. And the movie is too eager to please with an ending that seems more like a cop out.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 8,005

My Rating

Movie Info

Love, sex, and food combine in this sensuous romantic comedy. Isabella (Penelope Cruz) is a master chef who suffers from severe motion sickness, requiring her to be in control of her movements at all times. This need extends to the bedroom, but her husband Tonino (Murilo Benicio), who owns the restaurant where she works, doesn't like to make love in the fashion suggested by the title. This is hardly the only thing about their relationship that she finds stifling, and when Isabella discovers


Drama, Romance, Comedy

Vera Blasi

Dec 18, 2001


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All Critics (114) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (64) | DVD (11)

Short and sweet, it's suitable for a date night that includes both a movie and dinner.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A romantic fairy tale that's light and in several ways seductive, if not exactly filling. Still, there's always something enticing for the eye.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cruz is bewitching all through the movie, but her beauty and charm have to pull a heavy train of cliches and inevitable developments.

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

Penelope Cruz and little else in this so-so comedy

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

"Woman On Top" is a chick flick with so much colorfully spicy Brazilian food being passed around as a shared aphrodisiac, that audience couples will be running out the cinema for food and bed.

May 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

Cruz smolders with sexuality.

September 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Wildly mediocre.

September 23, 2006 Full Review Source:

May remind you of Like Water For Chocolate without the tragedy and subtitles.

July 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

How is it possible for a movie about two hot Latin lovers and spicy South American food, to be so bland?

December 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

For a film whose title implies female empowerment, Woman On Top is really about motion sickness.

September 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

Magical realism spins out of control in 'Woman on Top.'

August 2, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Woman on Top es una divertida fábula acerca del poder del Amor. Simplona...pero romántica.

July 28, 2002

Does nothing for gender or culture politics, but it's peppy and colorful, so you might enjoy parts even if you really shouldn't.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Everything might come together, too, were it not for terrible writing, marginal acting, some bewildering lapses of logic, and a fatal smugness.

January 1, 2000
New Times

Deeply bogus stuff, from a filmmaker who knows better (Celestial Mechanics), and an actress who is too talented to let herself be exploited like this.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Citysearch

Vera Blasi's thin script comes across as more silly than magical.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

A more mature screenplay that delved into relationships, magical or not, would have helped.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

A Like Water for Chocolate wannabe that isn't.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Woman on Top is a film that quite literally cooks -- but only when Penélope Cruz is in the kitchen.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Its whimsicality is forced, its attempts at cross-cultural humor are tired, and some of the acting is flat-out terrible.

January 1, 2000

This picture has no spirit, no soul and no magic.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire

This has nothing but the lamest romantic notions of kitchen sex.

January 1, 2000
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for Woman on Top

A cook moves from Brazil to San Francisco after she catches her husband cheating.
Motifs of sex, food, and voodoo comprise the plots of this light-hearted fairy tale. Penelope Cruz plays a woman who is so prone to motion sickness that she can only enjoy sex if she is on top, which drives her husband into the arms of another woman. The only way such a plot is remotely believable is if one suspends all disbelief. My brain is capable of such deceptive gymnastics. Instead, I found the film's light-hearted whimsy annoying and worthy of more than one eyeroll.
Cruz is sexy and fun, but into the second act, I felt that she had ceased to care as much as I.
Overall, unless foolish farce is your thing, stay the hell away from this film.
April 20, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Other than crazy sexy Penelope Cruz, I think Harold Perrineau was my favorite part! Sassy crossdresser. Fab! However, I think the story kinda lacked and shouldn't have ended like it did (she went back to the jerk who cheated on her?! Really?!) ... BUT! I did like the fairytale aspect of it (I'm such a sucker for that kind of stuff) and it was pretty sexy.
September 2, 2010
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

FUCK!!!! Damn stupid film! It was going brilliantly: Penelope falls in love with Mr. handsome, slick and smooth, he treats her like crap, so she leaves and then thanks to a nifty witchcraft subplot has her love for him taken away. She goes to America where she's a success - getting her own cooking show, but husband follows and tries everything to get her back. Meanwhile she meets another guy who's genuinely decent and infinitely more likeable, but instead of bringing out "the passion" in him (this movie is all about "passion"), she undoes the spell and goes back to her ex!! Sure, to start with he lets her go on top, and doesn't shove her away in the kitchen anymore, but he never really changes and you don't believe that within a few weeks he won't be cheating on her again. All through the film I found myself wishing he would get hit by a tram (this being set in San Francisco), but no. Penelope Cruz is good in this and it does feel a tad biographical: woman goes to America to make the most of her talents but everyone just wants to see her breasts.

In my head I'm going to imagine that she didn't go back with the greasy latin crooner, but as that's only in my head this film only deserves two stars.
February 26, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Toninho Oliveira: I love you.
    – Submitted by Annie I (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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