A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that two of the three daughters in this film sleep with men they are not married to; one even continues a sexual relationship with a man who used to be her boyfriend and is now just a friend with "fringe benefits." Otherwise, the film is fairly innocuous and tame.
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What's the story?
TORTILLA SOUP centers on a Mexican-American family in L.A. Martin Naranjo (Hector Elizondo) is a widower, the former chef-owner of a gourmet restaurant, and father to three willful daughters. Leticia (Elizabeth Pena), a prim and proper teacher with the hots for a new coach at school, Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), a high-powered career woman on the verge of moving out, and Maribel (Tamara Mello), who has decided to put off college while she "finds herself." Meanwhile, a close family friend brings her pushy Mom, Hortensia (Raquel Welch) for a visit in which she instantly develops eyes for Martin. Each week, while the family vents its problems, Martin fills the Sunday dinner table with sumptuous delights.
Is it any good?
As in Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman, the lovingly photographed shots of food in Tortilla Soup are its best feature. Watching Martin pound chiles with a mortar and pestle, peel avocados, and fry up squash blossoms for soup could have made for a magnificent film on its own.
Unfortunately, the directors chose to instead, load the film with melodramatic twists and predictable, unconvincing dialogue. However, this is a decent-enough film for rabid foodies, fanatical lovers of gentle family comedies, and families looking for something sweet and gentle to watch together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about food movies, such as Babette's Feast, Big Night, or Eat Drink Man Woman, the original version of this film. Can you think of other movies that feature food as a major element? What makes these movies fun? What does the food -- and its preparation -- symbolize in this movie?
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