We all have guilty pleasures, and for Ana Maria (Edy Ganem), the telenovela ‘Pasión Sin Limites’ is hers’. Besides running a fan-fiction site dedicated to the show, Ana Maria unintentionally, but completely, disregards her family, friends, and even loses her job– all for putting the show and its lead character, Ariana Tomosa, first. In a word, she is: obsessed. However, through an unexpected twist of fate, Ana Maria discovers first-hand that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side in this traditional romantic-comedy with a twist.
Let me start off by saying that Ana Maria in Novela Land is silly, but intentionally so–and that self-awareness is part of its charm. It’s Freaky Friday meets Desperate Housewives with the vibe of a Disney Channel original movie. Nevertheless, it is not meant to be taken seriously, so if you decide to watch this film for anything other than light, harmless humor, you should probably find another movie.
Let me start off by saying that Ana Maria in Novela Land is silly, but intentionally so–and that self-awareness is part of its charm.
Edy Ganem (Devious Maids) is fantastic in her breakout role as Ana Maria, a twenty-something single girl who still lives at home with her parents and finds solace in her daily telenovela-watching. As she watches the show with her parents one night, simultaneously live-tweeting her followers, a crash of thunder booms and magically, Ana Maria is transported into Novela Land, replacing its leading lady Ariana (also played by Ganem). Ariana, in turn, wakes up in Ana Maria’s world, and her spoiled self doesn’t know what to do in the “real world.” It’s a classic tale of comedically introspective self-confrontation, discovering one’s own flaws and trying to change for the better, and the fact that it is an all Latino cast is a very welcomed addition to the genre.
Ana Maria in Novela Land has the traditional romantic-comedy formula for success: a charming leading lady, a funny script, and colorful imagination. Director Georgina Garcia Riedel gives Ganem a lot of material to work with in playing both characters, and while audiences will obviously need a suspension of disbelief to enjoy the film, it is still quite charming. Ganem is joined by veteran actors Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights) and the late award-winning Elizabeth Peña (La Bamba), who passed away last October from cirrhosis of the liver. This is actually Peña’s last film, so fans of hers should definitely seek this one out (the film is dedicated to the late actress).
Overall, Ana Maria in Novela Land is a harmless and humorous film that will have no problem finding its key demographic among teens and those looking for a carefree film. Due to its breezy nature, I believe it would make for a very funny play. Running at just about an hour and a half, this film may be your next guilty pleasure.