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Home > Flamin’ Hot (2023): A Review

Flamin’ Hot (2023): A Review

Flamin' Hot

Another Devastating Product Placement Film

The untold true stories behind popular products and brands have been on the rise as of late. Movies like 2023’s Air, 2016’s The Founder, and 2023’s Tetris have sought to reveal the dramatic stories behind popular consumer products and companies. Hulu’s Flamin’ Hot seeks to follow in line behind those films, telling the story behind one of the best-selling snack foods that helped to revitalize Frito-Lay. Despite how flavorful the snack the film is based on, the story comes off as bland and generic. 

Flamin’ Hot follows the true story of Richard Montañez, a Hispanic immigrant who worked as a janitor at the Frito-Lay factory for years. Taking inspiration from his own heritage and culture, Montañez was able to create a new flavor for the popular corn puff snack, turning it into one of the best-selling products of all time. 

A Bag of Air

The entire cast does a fine job with each of their performances, particularly Jesse Garcia as lead, Richard Montañez. While none of the cast members give bad performances, none really give a memorable performance either –they’re all competent enough to carry the film but never leave an impression on the audience. When looking at the lead, Garcia has moments of flair and charisma in between long dry patches. The character is broad enough in his ambitions and goals to allow viewers to relate to him on some level while never providing quite enough of a distinction within his performance to make him stand out. It almost seems as if the lead character should have been in a supporting role due to the lack of anything interesting about him.

Lack of Spice

The movie as a whole is a little too dry, generic, and lacking creativity to make it a worthwhile wild watch. However, the opening of the film does provide enough energy to pull audiences in until it quickly loses all momentum. It conveys enough information to introduce Richard Montañez and the setup for how the Hot Cheeto will eventually be created. However, the film quickly loses its steam and becomes dull.

Unfortunately, the story behind the creation of the Hot Cheeto, or at least the one portrayed in the movie, didn’t feel interesting enough to have a feature-length film made out of it. The story wasn’t exciting or scandalous enough to give the feeling that spectators are getting a peak behind the curtain into a story that was never meant to be told. For example, the McDonald-inspired film, The Founder, revealed the untold story behind the creation of the fast-food juggernaut, and that story had an element of scandal. The controversial moves made by the protagonist, Ray Kroc, made the movie more exciting and presented the everyday fast-food chain in a different light. The true story of the Hot Cheeto lacked any thrills to make the story exciting. 

Flamin' Hot

The movie is inspiring and heartwarming, but not one viewers haven’t seen countless times before. It follows the same beats as every other underdog story does, unraveling in a predictable way that never leaves audiences guessing what’s to come. Due to the uninteresting screenplay and story, the predictability ultimately leaves the movie feeling tedious. That being said, the hopeful message is still one that is worth hearing every once in a while. Being able to see someone rise out of their current situation and make something of themselves has a particular draw on audiences heart strings. The ending provides a joyful sense of relief for the characters, and the monotonous story does serve as a nice reminder to pursue through hardships. 

A Script Missing Important Ingredients

Not every biopic is based on a truly fascinating story; however, with the help of a great script and direction, the movie is able to elevate its source material. Amazon’s Air Jordan movie, Air, demonstrated this perfectly earlier this year. The story behind the infamous basketball shoes isn’t particularly an interesting one, but with the help of the script and directing, the movie was able to tell its story in a riveting way, making it one of the best films of the year. Flamin’ Hot director, Eva Longoria, didn’t use her directing to spin the story in a more interesting way. Her directing felt as generic and standard as the film, making the rest of the film feel duller by comparison. 

As for the script, it feels too common and, by the numbers, lacks any nuance and bite to it. The dialogue is standard and plays out as expected. Unlike how Air was able to make the story of Air Jordans feel crisp and original, Flamin’ Hot feels more like an early draft. The dialogue and writing never punch the story up to help make it pop but rather stay at a surface level playing it safe. Unlike the character at the heart of the story, the movie never aims to be more than it could have been, staying content with mediocrity. 

All in all, Flamin’ Hot failed to catch any flame. It never makes any awful moves but rather comes off as a terribly bland film. The source material itself was weak to begin with, with the acting and directing unable to elevate the project. 

“Flamin’ Hot” is currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu. 

Flamin' Hot

Flamin’ Hot (2023) Official Searchlight Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.