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I'm So Excited!

I'm So Excited!

Rated R, 95 min. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Laya Martí, Javier Cámara, Carlos Areces, Raúl Arévalo, José María Yazpik, Guillermo Toledo, José Luis Torrijo, Lola Dueñas, Cecilia Roth, Blanca Suárez, Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., July 26, 2013

Here’s one movie I can guarantee you’ll never see on an airplane. Even with opening disclaimers that I’m So Excited! is a work of fiction and bears no relationship to reality, this Almodóvar romp presents an unsettling portrait of mile-high behavior. On a trans-Atlantic flight from Madrid to Mexico City, a technical malfunction that’s discovered while the plane is still in Spanish airspace causes the pilot to steer the plane in circles while waiting for clearance to land on a vacant runway. That allows Almodóvar time to run his characters through some aimless loops as well.

I’m So Excited! is something of a return to form for Almodóvar. It’s the kind of madcap comedy the filmmaker made more commonly in the earlier part of his career. It’s not as zany a frolic as Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but it’s pleasantly amusing, if a bit undercooked. The film is something of a roundelay, bouncing variously among a handful of characters, each of whom is a piece of work. The story is confined to the half-dozen travelers in business class (all the passengers in coach have been drugged by the flight attendants so they will stay passively zonked out during the flight); the three campy, male flight attendants; and the captain and co-pilot, both bisexual (and actively so while in the cockpit) and downing alcohol throughout the flight. A bit of everyone’s backstory is revealed, sexual relations are enjoyed by many, and much gossip and many drugs are shared. A cute preamble prior to takeoff features Almodóvar mainstays Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz as ground-crew workers.

Even though I’m So Excited! doesn’t soar, the film is a fun flight. Maybe it needs a central character in whom the audience can invest themselves instead of flitting among a rogues’ gallery of kooky archetypes. Or maybe the film is undone by the standards of froth that Almodóvar previously set for himself. Whatever the case, I’m So Excited! sets the bar a little too high with that exclamation point in the title.


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