I'm So Excited

I'm So Excited


Reviewed by: David Graham

After eliciting a career-best performance from Antonio Banderas and a star-making turn from Elena Anaya, Pedro Almodovar abandons the psychological minefield of The Skin I Live In to make a belated return to his high-energy comedies of yore. With a bustling ensemble that reads like a who's who of the Almodovar canon, I'm So Excited is as wilfully messy as cult faves Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, but its childish humour is only occasionally charming. The sexual and gender politics that course through Almodovar's best work are in evidence but there's a distinct lack of focus, leaving the film a somewhat forced flight of fancy.

A trio of trolley-dollies find themselves contending with horny passengers, drunk divas and a potential plane crash during a particularly chaotic flight from Spain to Mexico. Between crises of fate, alcoholic colleagues and incensed lovers, the effeminate flight-crew have their hands full, so when a psychic passenger makes a disastrous prediction, unchecked panic soon spreads through the business class section. If they hope to salvage their relationships and keep their cabin in order they might just have to fall back on good old-fashioned cabaret to get them all through.

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Starting off with a breezy Penelope Cruz causing trouble on the runway for Banderas, Almodovar flits between characters and time-zones to paint a picture of widespread longing and dissatisfaction. On the ground, Blanca Suarez and Paz Vega stand out as frustrated and suicidal lovers of the same ageing lothario who cross paths in a bittersweet moment of mutual recognition. The occasional detours into drama hint at a more balanced experience than we end up getting though, with the director's troupe of regulars put through an embarrassing array of sexual shenanigans.

Much of this centres on Talk To Her star Lola Duenas' quest to lose her virginity in case her psychic prediction of disaster turns out to be accurate. This leads the director to really nosedive into misjudged raunch towards the end, with one supposedly comedic instance of something that constitutes woman-on-man date-rape leaving a bitterly sleazy lasting impression.

The centre-piece musical number offers a frivolous distraction from our heroes' starstruck fawning over Cecilia Roth (whose character's significance no doubt means more to Spanish speakers), but it's unlikely to supplant James Franco's Britney montage from [flm]Spring Breakers[/film] as the year's most memorable interlude. It all builds to an underwhelming finale that feels undeserved, the slim runtime feeling stretched and none of the characters proving particularly entertaining. The incessant camp antics of the cabin crew grow as tiresome to the audience as their safety demonstration is to the passengers, with Javier Camara coming off as a poor man's Rupert Everett and The Last Circus star Carlos Areces wasted as a stuffy loser, while his brilliant co-star from that film, Antonio de la Torre, is stuck in a bizarre homosexual tryst that rings especially false.

Longtime Almodovar admirers will find enough to enjoy here in the director's signature style to be agreeably amused for the duration, but this is nowhere near as engaging as his anarchic early output. A return to his roots but not to their form, there's nothing here that wasn't done before and better in 90s Brit-com The High Life, leaving I'm So Excited feeling like it's failed to launch.

Reviewed on: 02 May 2013
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When a plane is imperilled the passengers try to forget their plight but in the process discover the dangers of openness.
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Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Writer: Pedro Almodóvar

Starring: Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Lola Dueñas, Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz

Year: 2013

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Spain


SSFF 2013

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