Tortilla Soup review

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One to file under Films You Shouldn't Watch On An Empty Stomach (alongside Big Night, What's Cooking and Dinner Rush), Tortilla Soup is a Hispanic-flavoured remake of Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman.

Transposed from Taipei to Los Angeles, the story centres on wonder-chef widower Martin (Hector Elizondo) and his grown-up daughters: devout Christian Leticia (Elizabeth Peña), teen rebel Maribel (Tamara Mello) and Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), a business brain who shares the old man's flair for fancy cooking. The family gathers every Sunday to dish the news while tucking into one of Dad's lavish meals.

Familial tensions simmer rather than boil in an unashamedly feelgood (and unapologetically predictable) offering. But Tortilla Soup does come garnished with sympathetic characters and appealing performances. Elizondo anchors the film with ease, proving he's worth more than his regular support gigs in Garry Marshall's movies, while the three actresses form a warm, believable sorority. But the real star of the show is the cuisine, supplying much of the rich colour missing from the drama.

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