Flamin’ Hot (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
FLAMIN’ HOT (2023)
Starring Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, Tony Shalhoub, Emilio Rivera, Matt Walsh, Pepe Serna, Bobby Soto, Jimmy Gonzales, Brice Gonzalez, Vanessa Martinez, Carlos Sanchez, Hunter Jones, Carlos Solórzano, Jayde Martinez, Fabian Alomar , Mario Ponce, Eric Marq, Alejandro Montoya Marín, Howard Ferguson Jr. and Lora Martinez-Cunningham.
Screenplay by Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette Chávez.
Directed by Eva Longoria.
Distributed by Hulu/Disney +. 99 minutes. Rated PG-13.
A couple of months ago there was a movie about making athletic shoes. Now is one about making corn snacks. Who says there are no new ideas out there? Wonder what film about business-oriented sensations in the 1980s and 1990s will be next? (That’s a rhetorical question. There is already another film coming soon called Tetris, about the creation of the popular early computer game, and another movie on the way about the creation of the BlackBerry.)
Flamin’ Hot tells the story of Richard Montañez, a worker on the maintenance staff of Frito-Lay in the 1980s and 90s who was able to help save the business when he came up with the bright idea of offering up spicy chips for the Mexican market. Not only did it make billions of dollars for the company, but it also offered Montanez entrance into the executive suites.
Of course, there has been some question whether Montañez’s story, which led to his memoir A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie, about the creation of the flavored chips is totally accurate. Flamin’ Hot is based on the book and accepts the word of its hero.
It’s a sweet story, a nice parable, breezily directed by actress (and first-time director) Eva Longoria, but it’s not nearly as substantial as Air was just a few months ago. Much like the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that Montanez created his movie is puffy, tasty but slight, a nice little snack but one filled with empty calories.
It helps that it has an appealing lead. Jesse Garcia makes Montañez a smart and charming guy, with a loving wife and two cute (bordering on cutesy) kids. The film shows his youthful indiscretions and his determination as a family man to be true to his friends and community and to work his way up the corporate ladder.
He works hard – using his time and his own money – to come up with the brainstorm that will turn his life around.
One problem here is that despite the whole idea – and the reality – of the difficulty of a low-level employee getting an idea out into the world, Flamin’ Hot sometimes makes it seem surprisingly easy. Montañez is able to reach PepsiCo/Frito Lay CEO Roger Enrico (played by Tony Shalhoub) and easily convince him to not only listen but invest lots of money on the dream of a man who has no experience in business or marketing.
However, Flamin’ Hot never claims to be a gritty look at discrimination in the workplace. It’s only trying to be a feel-good narrative about a man finding his dream, and it does succeed on that level.
The film itself isn’t exactly Flamin’ Hot, but it’s caliente enough.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2023 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 9, 2023.