LAST WEEK, I dragged my fellow gourmand and sex-obsessed confidante Novella to a gala sneak preview of the new Penélope Cruz vehicle, Woman on Top. Cruz plays Isabella, a Brazilian chef with severe motion sickness (she must be "on top" or she gets sick), who vomits her way from a small Brazilian fishing village to San Francisco in order to escape her two-timing husband. On arriving, she employs voodoo to get over her chronic, masturbatory obsession with him, but this being one of those sexy Latin "Magic Realism" movies, the voodoo backfires, and she subsequently finds herself on television in her very own spicy Latin cooking show, blessed with magical chef powers and a neverending supply of Wonderbra-friendly outfits.

Meanwhile, her spurned/stalking husband Toninho (Murilo Benício) proceeds to the Big Gay City to retrieve his chattel from the clutches of her best friend, Monica the Transvestite. Accompanied by a group of guitar-strumming musicians at all times, he forces his way onto her television show, but finds that Isabella's mysterious cooking whips everybody, himself included, into submission.

Following the film, we ventured out to a catered reception at Tango, the fancy tapas restaurant on Capitol Hill. After arguing over a tiny bowl of measly olives and being trampled by film lovers stampeding toward a microscopic plate of roast beef and stinky fish balls, we left, nauseous. Novella called me the next morning....

Novella: Personally, I woke up CONSTIPATED, Rachel. While on the can, I wondered about the likelihood of Isabella receiving cunnilingus if she insists on being on top all the time.

Rachel: Yeah. I love sitting on someone's face. But our girl Isabella on those scrawny legs she totters around on--she might not be able to hover for long. However! Visible love-juice aromas wafting through San Francisco aside, this movie was decidedly NOT about sex.

Novella: That's right. There was no sex at all....

Rachel: And there was exactly ONE shot of her eating. Taking a tiny nibble of fish. Some chef.

Novella: I thought this movie would do two things for me: make me horny and make me hungry, crazed for food. As for the first thing--I've gotten more horny watching a puppet show put on by my grandparents. As for hunger, what with all Isabella's puking and all, it actually turned my stomach.

Rachel: Then Tango served us those fish balls!

Novella: They were like something you get from a cheap, greasy Chinese restaurant.

Rachel: Except they weren't cheap. [Note: They were, in fact, free.--Eds]

Novella: And what was with that tiny bit of roast beef? Is it possible that Tango was attempting to do a little "art does mirror reality" with that paltry offering--even for tapas--of flesh? Tango should have taken all its money, poured gasoline over it, roasted Penélope Cruz on the flames, and served that instead.

Rachel: The most believable part in the movie is Isabella vomiting.

Novella: That skinny bitch, she hasn't eaten a real meal in her life. She cooks; other people eat; she pukes.

Rachel: But her vomit problem had to do with motion, riding in cars, elevators, on the trolley. It was about control. And not losing it.

Novella: Oh, yeah. But I thought Brazil was supposed to be something crazy, letting go of control.

Rachel: Yeah, but Isabella never did that. No threat of sex.

Novella: There was no progress, no fucking, NOTHING. It might have been better just to make a movie about a dog shitting, then eating it, then shitting again.

Rachel: Novella, did I tell you I just felt really sad that she didn't actually have a nice ass? That movie would have been so much better if she had actually had an ASS! No ass and no passion.

Novella: The only thing with puff was her lips, and I think that was silicone.

Rachel: Just some wet T-shirt scenes. With no nipples.