only thing Ana Maria Soto is industrious about is tweeting telenovelas. She has
a fair number of followers, but none them are her quickly exasperated work
colleagues. Those gigs never last long anyway. Frankly, even her long suffering
family hardly notices the difference when she pulls a 1980s style body-switcheroo
with the heroine of the telenovela she currently tweets. Fish will be out of
water and lessons will be learned in Georgina Garcia Riedel’s Ana Maria in Novela Land (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in Los Angeles.
just got pink-slipped from another job and flaked out on her older sister’s
bridal dress fitting. Her family is pretty bummed out with her, but everything
seems to make sense when tonight’s episode of Passion Without Limits starts. However, a freak electricity surge
exchanges her consciousness with the lead character, Ariana Tomosa, who is
engaged to a wealthy older man, while carrying on an affair with his brooding
course, Soto knows all this, so she adapts to life in the telenovela relatively
easily. On the other hand, Tomosa is out to sea in the real world, but Tony,
the young neighborhood internist who always carried a torch for Soto, will help
the presumed amnesiac start to act like a real person. In fact, she soon
becomes easier to live with than the real Ana Maria, despite her dramatic
nature. Meanwhile, Soto enjoys vamping it up in the telenovela, but she knows
full well its limited run will soon conclude—and then what?
Novela Land is kind of amusing and it
features fan favorite Luis Guzmán playing Schmidt, Tomosa’s scheming attorney
nemesis. Sadly, it is also the final film of Elizabeth Peña (Lone Star, La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly
Hills), who has some nice moments giving uncooperative bridal staff
what-for. Still, there is not much heft to the film, even before starts recycling
its body switch jokes.
hams it up, because obviously. Still, Edy Ganem effectively differentiates Soto from
Tomosa. There are a few inventive gags, such as when Soto happens to wander into
a Korean soap opera. Pepe Serna deadpans nicely as Father Miguel, but the
forthcoming Man from Reno is a much
more compelling (and infinitely darker) showcase for his under-appreciated chops.
Unfortunately, Soto’s K-drama interlude is as surreal
as the film gets. Given the premise (essentially an updated riff on the John
Candy movie Delirious), Riedel and
co-screen-writer Jose Nestor Marquez could have played more mischievous games
with on-screen reality, but they mostly just keep it safe and sentimental. Too
sitcom-my and not nearly out there enough for mainstream genre audiences, Ana Maria in Novela Land is mostly just
for fans like Soto when it opens this Friday (2/27) at the Burbank and Orange
AMC theaters in California.
Labels: Body-switch movies, Elizabeth Pena, Pepe Serna, Telenovelas