In the last decade or so, Pedro Almodovar has become a master of taking ideas and spinning them in unexpected and complicated directions, filling his movies with larger than life, complex characters who draw you into a world that seems slightly absurd and yet uncomfortably close to the murkiness of real life.
I’m So Excited takes him in a slightly different direction as it’s far simpler, a lot camper and more interested in being pure entertainment than most of his movies. This has disappointed some, who were expecting an ‘Almodovar’ movie, but that doesn’t mean it lacks its own small-scale charms, even if it’s unlikely to amaze many.
The film starts out with veteran Almodovar stars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz turning up for cameos as ground staff at an airport. When she tells him he’s pregnant, he is so excited that he forgets to remove the landing blocks from a plane. That proves to be a bit of a disaster, as once the aircraft has taken off the pilot realises he can’t get the landing gear down and so they’ll need to make an emergency landing – once they’ve found an empty runway.
At first the three gay flight crew in business class attempt to keep things quiet from the passengers, but soon the predicament they’re in emerges, causing more than a little panic. The passengers’ secrets begin to be spilled, the stewards attempt to keep things calm, but even that goes wrong when a mescaline infused cocktail erupts into mass horniness.
It’s all very silly, frothy, slight filthy and doesn’t really add up to an awful lot, but it’s fairly entertaining and has some very funny moments. There’s a slight sense that everything would be more coherent for those who know a lot about Spain’s current financial crisis – the fact economy class is drugged and oblivious while business class and the authorities/pilots are heading for catastrophe is not a coincidence. However even then it’s difficult not to feel I’m So Excited is a lot of disjointed moments and stories that are fine, but seem to be searching for something that pulls it together.
Indeed, it’s almost like Almodovar has had these characters hanging around in his brain for a while but felt they weren’t quite ready for a film of their own, but that they might work if he threw them all together in an airplane. They’re decent characters but feel slightly disparate and as if they weren’t quite ready for their close-up.
Don’t think about the movie too hard though, as if you do there are things that start to become a little disturbing, not least a scene which is actually a rape but is played out for silly laughs. Likewise, some may not appreciate the style of humour, feeling the three gay stewards are a throwback to a not particularly lamented period of camp bitchery, eye-rolling and queer sexual inappropriateness. That’s somewhat deliberate as the film’s bright style and costume harks back to a bygone age of screwball comedies, even if it never quite captures the best of those movies.
There’s a small but okay selection of special features, including a decent ‘making of…’, a time-lapse of the creation of the plane crash set and a look at the VFX.
Overall Verdict: It’s difficult to escape the feeling that I’m So Excited either needed to have been deeper or funnier to truly work. It’ll raise a smile but be forgotten the moment it’s over.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac