#REVIEW: “FLAMIN’ HOT”
Review by Mr. Will Wong
Hot off its SXSW premiere where it caught a bit fo fire, get ready to spice up your life with the release of Eva Longoria‘s feature directorial debut FLAMIN’ HOT. This is the origins story behind one of the world’s favourite snacks.
We meet Richard Montañez (Jesse Garcia), who is trying to create a new life for himself and family, facing discrimination and also struggling to stay on the straight and narrow after a troubled past. He finally lands a job as a janitor at Frito Lay, but it isn’t till after a lot of disrespect that his fate changes. He lands upon some plain Cheetos and brings them home. Inspired to revolutionaize the snack with a spicy version that caters to the tastes of his fellow Latinos, he and his family experiment and finally find the winning recipe. He gets in touch with the Head of the company Roger Enrico (Tony Shalhoub) and somehow manages to get an invite to pitch the new product. With the help of his wife Judy (Annie Gonzalez), he gets a crash course in marketing and the rest is history. Montañez thanks to his big revenue-generating innovation, quickly climbs the ranks as an Executive, but not without some naysayers in the org.
The Biopic is based on Montañez’s Memoir “A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive“. Though his claim that he is the rightful sole inventor of the product has successfully been refuted, enough of this origins story is true that the Creators of the Film decided to continue and run with it. Nobody is disputing Montañez was an integral part of the story the changed the snack game for those of us who refuse to settle for bland.
Longoria balances the comedic, dramatic and inspirational flavours of this story well. Garcia’s Montañez swallows a heaping spoonful of humility, taking him on a journey of growth as a person and we are rooting for him to beat the patriarchy from his controlling father (Emilio Rivera) and at work where he seems bound to a lifetime of mopping floors. Longoria captures our hero’s heart and soul and makes his will to fight the focal point that drives the Film. While the Film is unable to avoid leaning-in on clichés of the inspirational genre, it succeeds as entertainment and a bit of education – even if it is only partly true.
FLAMIN’ HOT arrives June 9, 2023 on Disney+.