Idol Chatter

Wacky is the only way to describe “Tortilla Heaven,” this wonderful kitschy comedy film that will have a limited release starting March 16th. Isidor and his family own a restaurant called Tortilla Heaven (of course) in a tiny New Mexico town–so small it doesn’t even have a paved road leading up to it. The townspeople are looking for a tourist attraction to spruce things up a bit.

And in a wonderful opening scene, we find Isidor resisting Sunday mass to stay in the kitchen and cook. As the camera cuts back and forth between the local parish priest consecrating the host and Isidor “consecrating” the tortillas in the restaurant, something magical occurs: The face of Jesus suddenly appears on one of the tortillas.

All sorts of hilarity ensues when the sacred tortilla is discovered. Among other miracles, the tortilla raises a pig from the dead (ha!), fixes a car, and heals a boy who can not walk. As the town gets what it always wanted–a serious tourist attraction–life then becomes complicated. Everyone wants a piece of the Jesus tortilla, so to speak, and there’s only so much to go around.

Though the comedy goes a bit over the top after a while, “Tortilla Heaven” is one of those movies for anybody who appreciates religious kitsch and has a comedic tendency to see Jesus, Mary, and Mother Teresa in all sorts of crazy places (like grilled cheese sandwiches and danishes, among other edible items). The movie’s not nearly as classic as the wonderful food fantasy “Like Water for Chocolate,” but it will satiate audiences who like magic-in-the-kitchen cooking movies.

And if you, like me, love the new television series “Ugly Betty,” then “Tortilla Heaven” won’t disappoint you. Not only does the film have the melodramatic feel of “Ugly Betty,” but Ana Ortiz (Betty’s sister) has some great cameos.

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