Edward James Olmos turns in his most famous performance in this feel-good classic. Though it's not a terribly interesting piece of filmmaking, it's certainly inspiring, as Olmos plays real-life math teach Jaime Escalante, who led a handful of motivation-free barrio students to passing the AP calculus test. They did so well they were accused of cheating and forced to retake the test... which they passed a second time. The film unfortunately succumbs to more than one cliche of the genre, though maybe this is where they actually all started. Who knows.
This fairly remake of the Chinese film Eat Drink Man Woman puts the father-and-his-daughters comedy in the kitchen of a Mexican-American family instead. Hector Elizondo lords over his uniquely messed-up offspring with a knowing twinkle in his eye. He's having fun, and so are we. Elizabeth Peña's supremely anal Leticia is a highlight, as is Raquel Welch's vixen putting the moves on dad.