Tortilla Heaven



Archangel Releasing

NEW YORK -- Magical realism gets a bad name in "Tortilla Heaven," a half-baked effort notable for the ethnic authenticity of much of its cast, if little else. The comical tale of the effects on a tiny New Mexican town after the appearance of a tortilla adorned with the face of Jesus, the film squanders the talents of a good number of Latino performers.

Said object shows up in the hands of Isidor (Jose Zuniga), who runs the only restaurant in the town of Falfurrias (population 73). After several instances of miraculously not being eaten, the tortilla soon figures in a variety of other minor miracles, including the resurrection of a pig that has been run over by a truck.

Of course, the religious icon sets the town on its ear, attracting the divergent interests of, among others, the pastor who runs a Catholic mission and the town mayor fixated only on building a golf course. Things take a more sinister turn with the arrival of the mysterious Gil Garcia (Miguel Sandoval), a slick huckster accompanied by three beautiful babes who entices Isidor with the commercial prospects of his find, and whose interests are clearly less than heavenly.

Among the other characters on display are the town sheriff (George Lopez) whose son is in a wheelchair because of a mysterious illness; a female cow-whisperer (Olivia Hussey) whose teenage daughter (Judy Herrera) begins a relationship with Isidor's son; and a licentious older woman (Lupe Ontiveros) who even comes on to the priest during communion.