REVIEW: ‘Flamin’ Hot’ tells fictitious story of popular snack

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are by far one of the most popular chips on the market. Created by Frito-Lay, they’re cheesy, flavorful and spicy — sometimes too spicy, depending on the person you ask. 

“Flamin’ Hot,” directed by Eva Longoria, tells the story of Richard Montañez, the janitor that rose to the top of the Frito-Lay food chain. 

The movie takes place between the 1960s and 1990s. The story follows Montañez and his life from being an immigrant from Mexico to how he got to the executive board of Frito Lay.

The movie touches on various topics, like Roger Enrico’s takeover of PepsiCo, Frito Lay’s parent company, and the struggle to keep the Frito Lay factory open in Rancho Cucamonga, California. 

This movie is a partially good representation of Hispanic culture while telling the story of a real person.

This movie would’ve been an inspiring story about the trial and error of using different spices that are traditionally used in many Hispanic dishes, but instead were used to create a new snack. 

Unfortunately, “Flamin’ Hot” isn’t entirely accurate, and the spices on the chips were not made from chiles or any spices portrayed in the movie that Montañez claimed to have used to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. 

According to Frito Lay and several news sources, Montañez didn’t invent the flavor. Records indicated that while part of the story is true, the chips were actually created by scientists and marketing executives in Texas, and there was no evidence that Montañez invented them. 

In 2021, PepsiCo supported Montañez, saying that the story was “true enough.”

Despite the inaccuracies, the movie is worth a watch. It embraces Hispanic culture, more specifically Mexican culture, in a lighthearted way, while staying partially true to the story of Montañez. 

This was also Eva Longoria’s cinematic debut as a director and for a debut movie, I thought it was well thought out, so props to Longoria for this movie.