I haven’t seen too many of Pedro Almodovar’s films. Maybe 5? I saw his 1985 comedy, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?, TIE ME UP TIE ME DOWN, VOLVER, BROKEN EMBRACES and THE SKIN I LIVE IN. His last 3 films were solid dramas with Hitchcock-like thriller elements thrown into the mix. I didn’t care for his 85 film. TIE ME UP TIE ME DOWN is probably my favorite one that I saw. His two most acclaimed films, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER and TALK TO HER, I still need to see. His latest film, I’M SO EXCITED, goes back to his comedy roots. In fact, this may be the broadest comedy he’s ever done.
The film takes place almost entirely on an airline jet. There are lots of wacky characters on board: There’s a psychic lady who is still a virgin, a gay pilot, a straight pilot who is secretly gay, a womanizing bastard, a washed-up movie star, a hitman, and 3 flamboyantly gay flight attendants (one of them is kind of the anchor of the film). During the flight, a technical problem occurs and they are forced to crash-land the plane. The attendants drug almost every passenger on board so they won’t be awake for this stressful emergency. The passengers who are awake share their problems with each other, get into arguments, and at one point, have an orgy. That’s the movie.
I can definitely see what Almodovar was going for. After doing all of those pretty dark thrillers and serious-as-a-heart-attack dramas, I could see how a filmmaker would want to do something completely different, so I do admire that. However, the movie didn’t really work for me. maybe it’ a culture thing, but I just didn’t think much of the humor was funny. Lots of sex and fart jokes. And there was probably more gay jokes than any Adam Sandler movie I’ve ever seen, which is fine, but the problem is that they were just not funny.
Because the movie has a free-form kind of a plot, the focus is all over the place. The movie is really just a series of subplots that never really come together. Well, okay, some of them do, but for the most part they don’t. Characters are introduced and then quickly forgotten about, which made me wonder, “Why even include them in the first place”. Now, I don’t know if it was supposed to be some sort of inside joke, but the first 2 people introduced in the movie was Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. They work on the ground at the airport. Cruz announces to Banderas that she’s pregnant after years of trying. They embrace. That was the first 4 minutes of the movie. They are never even shown or mentioned again. I didn’t really get it. Was it supposed to be funny to think that they were going to be the central focus of the movie and then forgotten about? It may have, but it just made me confused.
The movie isn’t all horrible. Almodovar has created a nice, bright, colorful looking movie. It has a nice broad style, technically. I also liked the central character of one of the gay attendants. His story was engaging. But the highlight of the movie for me was when the 3 attendants randomly break out into an elaborate musical/dance number to the Pointer Sisters’ song, I’m So Excited (hence the title, I guess). That sequence is full of clever camera angles and hilarious choreography. I did laugh quite a bit there. I also thought the orgy was pretty crazy. Pretty amusing. Unfortunately, the rest of the film isn’t all that good.
Maybe if I was more versed in Spanish culture I would find the film more humorous? It could be a language barrier? I just didn’t get most of the humor. I appreciate what Almodovar was trying to do, but this comedy is just too broad for its own good. ★★ (out of ★★★★)
– Rated R for strong sexual content including crude references, and drug use.
– Running time: 1hr 30min