Movie Review: “Ana Maria in Novela Land”

novela

“Ana Maria in Novela Land” is a comedy spoof introduces us to the wonder that is Edy Ganem by hurling her into the world of Latin
soap operas — Telenovelas. She plays both an obsessed young fan and blogger about one such soap, and the vampy diva pursued by
two men on the small screen in “Pasion sin Limites” (“Passion without Limits”), a show she is so obsessed by that it’s cost her more
than one job.
Ana Maria dreams of turning this broadly acted, comically melodramatic show into a zombie series. Her dreams and fantasies get in
the way of her work and her life. Her sister (Mercedes Mason) is about to marry, her mother (the late Elizabeth Pena, in her final film
role) doesn’t know what to do with her.
And then, something magical and electrical happens and Ana Maria is trapped in the soap, over-dressed, overly-made-up, over-
emoting.
Now, instead the dashing, rich Eduardo (Juan Pablo Gamboa) and his over-sexed son Armando (Michael Steger) competing to see who can bed and impregnate the vivacious Ariana (Ganem, again), it’s Ana Maria they want.
Georgina Garcia Riedel’s Spanish-and-English comedy mocks telenovela conventions, such as the florid guitar solo that accompanies
every seduction.
“Do you hear that?”
Only Ana Maria does. Her co-stars don’t, and are equally puzzled at her switch to English and Spanglish.
“Gringos!”
Their semi-chaste courtliness is no match for her hip hop twerking and grinding in a party scene.
“Is it the brain tumor again?” Eduardo wonders.
Luis Guzman is comically diabolical as the soap opera’s resident villain.
“You will know TRUE pain if you cross me!”
And Ana Maria has to cope with a TV world so unrealistic that it’s never shown a toilet. Try taking a home pregnancy test without one.
Meanwhile, the fictonal, shrill, slap-happy Ariana is trying to cope the “Real World” that she’s been dropped into, her new mother
(Pena) and the sister she never knew she had. She must have amnesia.
“This isn’t a gimmick where I come from,” she explains. “EVERYone has suffered from it!”
Check out the poses Ariana strikes, the dainty way the soap starlet runs and the real world consequences of dramatically slapping every person who crosses you.
“Ana Maria in Novela Land” is over-the-top, but not far enough over the top to fully pay off. But Ganem makes the title character, and
her soapy doppelganger, enough of a hoot to make it worth staying through the credits.

2stars1

MPAA Rating: Unrated, with adult situations, sexuality, soap opera violence
Cast: Edy Ganem, Luis Guzmán, Mercedes Mason, Elizabeth Peña, Michael Steger

Credits: Directed by Georgina Garcia Riedel, script by Jose Nestor Marquez, Georgina Garcia Riedel. A Synthetic release.

Running time: 1:33

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