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Jamon Jamon [Import]

Penélope Cruz , Stefania Sandrelli , Bigas Luna    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Amazon.ca

Salted pork shanks as leitmotiv in a dark comedy about an absurd love triangle: this is what post-Franco cine is all about (food and sex). Spanish tortillas (i.e., potato omelets) are also big in this one. Director José Juan Bigas Luna's Jamón Jamón is intelligent, wry, and--despite the formulaic narrative that melodrama must essentially contain--unpredictable. At times his film exudes a certain Almodóvar flavor, but there is an edge, perhaps a heavy-handedness, to the dark humor that is either Luna's success or his downfall. The film garnered the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, after all. Try to follow: sexy Penelope Cruz (Belle Epoque) is growing up with her mother outside town on the highway, on the wrong side of the highway. Together they run a truck stop where cars and life literally race past. Cruz is in love with Jordí Molla, by whom she is pregnant. Molla's bourgeois mother, played by Anna Galiena (Being Human), thinks he can and should do better. (Of course, neither Cruz nor his mother knows of the erotic, hmm, avian interludes Molla enjoys on the side.) To save her son from the lower classes, Galiena hires Javier Bardem, a muscular, pretty man (whose regular consumption of the pork he distributes for a living has enhanced his sexual appeal) to pursue Cruz. The dark comedy finds a proper ending to the triangle in a grotesque but comedic landscape of death. This is not a cookie-cutter movie but rather one that will resonate with both your light and dark sides. After each surprise, you'll chuckle, feel guilty, and chuckle again. --Erik Macki

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nude Matadores and Lottsa Ham Feb. 1 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This is a fun film! A black "who's sleeping with who?" comedy that draws its viewers into this bizarre, crazed love triangle. Anyone who is a fan of early Almodovar will get something out of this.
The acting is great, especially by Bardem. The script has alot of subtle one-liners, and the sex and nudity is explicit and contributes to the anything goes atmosphere. So if you're looking for a fun dark/tragic comedy with lottsa sex, pick this one up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Love Triangle like no other... Aug. 10 2004
By McGillicutty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I had the privilage of seeing "Jamon Jamon" in the theatre several years ago, thank you.

Anyway, "Jamon Jamon" (translation: Ham Ham) takes it's story straight from those overblown dramas of the 1980's like "Dynasty" or "Knot's Landing". The twist is just how far these characters will go to fulfill their "lustful" desires in spite of the consequences. Although every character in the film is dead serious, this is actually a comedy, and not a bad one at that. A sort of "Dallas goes Airplane" without the cheap gags.

To describe the plot without giving away too much is daunting, but here goes; A young man has gotten his girlfriend pregnant. His parents, who run a successful underwear business, dissaprove of their son marrying the daughter of a prostitute. So his mother hires one of the underwear models to seduce the girlfriend, but the mother falls for the underwear model.

With me so far, good. Here's where it gets complicated;

The young man (remember him?) is also having a dallience with the young girl's mother (the prostitute). Meanwhile, the underwear model manages to seduce the young girl, but is still bedding down with the mother (the underwear Mother). The young man has now become insanely jealous which leads to a confrontation with the underwear model. The father of the young man is about the only character with his head on straight, but even he gets involved in this mess.

The performances are first rate and the sex/nude scenes are plentiful. Perhaps the most outlandish is a bullfight with the matadors in the nude (definately something for the ladies...and perhaps a few guys as well).

Those interested in seeing what a young (19 years old at the time) Penelope Cruz looks like nearly naked will not be dissapointed. This film is definately not for the kids.

Overall, "Jamon Jamon" is a very well made comedy whose laughs come from the characters, not from any "jokes". I can certainly recommend it to those looking for a more "sophisticated" sex comedy. The type that American film makers have trouble pulling off...so to speak.

Trivia: The box cover depicts probably the most dramatic sex scene in the film. Problem is, the two people depicted are not the actors in the scene. Perhaps it's a rip on Romance novel book covers?
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two words, Penelope Cruz Jan. 13 2001
By Enrique Torres - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
O.K. it may not be a five star movie, more like four but if you're a Penelope Cruz fan like me you'll love it. Seeing her half clothed body frequently throughout the movie makes you glad they invented rewind and pause controls on your antiquated vcr. Seriously though this is a very sexy and smart movie about two of the things most of us love most, food and sex. Spanish cinema has a certain flair for exploiting those issues most dear to us in the most unusual manner. The movie is very funny, more so if you understand Spanish culture, and the imagery used to convey the issues at hand are most visually dramatic. The story evolves primarily around the life of Jose Luis who is the wealthy son of a domineering mother whose family is in the underwear business. Not sexy yet? Enter Javier Barden("High Heels" and "Live Flesh)" as Raul, a novice bullfighter, underwear model and soon to hired lover to interfere with Jose Luis's love interest. He's a confident Spanish stud who takes no prisoners in his conquering of women. Still doesn't sound sexy? O.K., now for the best part of this movie, Penelope Cruz is Sylvia the pregnant girlfriend of Jose Luis and is the leading lady in this tale of twisted love triangles. The sexy Sylvia is torn and her future in-laws make her decision more difficult. Lots of unpredictable liasons develop that may be immoral but if taken as a satirical romp quite funny and entertaining as opposed to shocking. Some of the scenes are a riot like when the two machos sneak into a bull ranch late at night for a little clandestine bullfighting by the moonlight. The daring bravado of the two machos is illustrated so beautifully and the scene transition is just as wild as they run from their persuers.Without describing and ruining the scene suffice to say that the fact that two young men would go to such great lenghts to prove their macho is hilarious. It is scenes like this that make for memorable Spanish cinema with a quirky message hidden in celluloid reminiscent of Aldomovar. Very funny stuff worth the price of admission alone just to see a very young Penelope Cruz at her sexiest.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Spanish Movie March 18 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
"Jamón, Jamón" is a kind of "souvenir" of spanish culture. Bigas Luna is fantastic - always - and Bardem in this movie is still an unknowed actor, at least for "americans viewers" or maybe "americans 'voyers'" (because his caracter is an almost sexual [freak] guy...)There is something surrealist in the movie, and this is what make it very spanish. After Garcia Lorca and other artists from the begining of the century, everything in Spain seems surrealist: things are not an easy "nonsense", but a different way to show the real world where the Moral does not exist, and Poetry and a very fine point of view are leaders. It's a five star movie for the ones who are interested in culture. Also, if you like the most famous Spain sons - Pedro Almodóvar and Joaquín Cortez - it's a nice excuse to know some of their "relatives" (olders and youngers)and to begin a "cultural spanish research" just for fun (and just for life)!
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Dark but Enormously Successful Unique Film Nov. 6 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
'Jamón, jamón' is a tremendously creative movie by director José Juan Bigas Luna and his writing partner Cuca Canals (Son de mar, Volavérunt, Bámbola, Lumière et compagnie, La Teta y la luna, and Huevos de oro), a film that is a dark comedy but not in the ho-ho manner: the comedy is the human comedy and watching it evolve may at times make the viewer avert the eyes because of its truthfulness.

Silvia (a very young Penélope Cruz) lives with her prostitute mother (Stefania Sandrelli) in a truck stop bordello, obviously in the lower caste of society. Silvia works in the Under Wear factory owned by the parents (Anna Galiena and Juan Diego) of Penelope's boyfriend José Luis (Jordi Molla). Penelope is pregnant by José Luis but of course this low class association will never do to his mother so she sets about to distract Silvia from José Luis's attentions. Enter a ham seller and wannabe bullfighter Raúl (the very buff and hunky young Javier Bardem) who is a macho as they come (a night scene where Raúl and his handsome friend played by Tomás Martín fight a bull in the nude is the pinnacle of machismo!) whom the mother hires to distract Silvia. But the plot thickens when the intended coupling becomes crazily rearranged (Raúl has sex with José Luis's mother, José Luis seeks out the corporal companionship of Silvia's prostitute mother, José Luis's father grasps for Silvia, etc) until the sextet comes to a strange ending on the twilight plains of Spain.

This color-saturated movie by cinematographer José Luis Alcaine is a visual delight and the accompanying musical score by Nicola Piovani adds just the right amount of spice. But it is the extraordinary acting of the young actors who were to become international stars - Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Jordi Mollà - that bring the excitement and aura of sensuality to this very controversial film. José Juan Bigas Luna is a terrific combination of Dalí, Almodóvar, Cocteau, and Buñuel, but he carries his dark comedic sense into the critical eye of the human microscope. The film is a delight and a joy to see, if only to watch the three big names at their early stages! Grady Harp, November 06
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD, with one problem July 11 2012
By Chuckg - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a good movie, funny movie. I've owned this movie on VHS tape for several years, and was happy to finally find it available on DVD. There is one major (to me at least) problem with the DVD though. The audio is only in Spanish; there are no English sub-titles like on the VHS version. Amazon, or the vendors, need to identify that in the description of the movie so that non-spanish speaking customers will not be disappointed with the DVD.
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