mon 10/08/2020

I'm So Excited | reviews, news & interviews

I'm So Excited

I'm So Excited

Pedro Almodóvar's latest is no more than a daft-as-a-brush indulgence

Lives are up in the air in more ways than one in 'I'm So Excited', starring José María Yazpik and Cecilia Roth

"What makes you think all this is funny?" businessman Ricardo Galán (Guillermo Toledo) snaps after a particular high-spirited episode in Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's latest, and it's undoubtedly a remark that will resonate with some members of the audience. Almodóvar is one of modern cinema's finest auteurs - a director for whom we reserve the highest of expectations. However his latest is camper and more booze-fuelled than Christmas, coming after the comparably tortured The Skin I Live In and Broken Embraces this is the cinematic equivalent of a blowout.

So yes, this is one very silly film (sillier even than Airplane!); though, to be fair, I'm So Excited lays its cards on the table from the outset by foregrounding its disclaimer: "Everything that happens in this film is fiction and fantasy and bears no relationship to reality." It's a soap opera in the sky, focusing on the passengers and crew of a flight to Mexico City. It features a familiar Almodóvar ensemble with Talk to Her's Javier Cámara (pictured below, far right) as Chief Steward Joserra, Lola Dueñas (Volver) and Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) amongst the passengers, while Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz cameo.

When the flight is thrown into crisis (blame Banderas, who forgets to remove the chocks after being distracted by his beautiful wife - played by Cruz), the plane's live-wire trio of stewards act quickly (and bizarrely) by tranquilising the entirety of Economy Class, along with their female colleagues. They threaten to entertain the panicking Business Class passengers (also drugged, though to rather different effect) with "a repertoire of musical numbers". In the end we only get one but, to be fair, it's a hoot: a raunchy, limber performance of the titular song, sure to raise a smile from even the most stubbornly humourless.

The passengers' histrionic stories are revealed to us bit-by-bit through a malfunctioning plane phone, which effectively broadcasts both sides of each conversation as they make what could be their final phone calls. With their lives up in the air in more ways than one, anything goes - one of the passengers is revealed as a notorious dominatrix and another is simply gagging to lose her virginity (by any means necessary it turns out).

Although his films have noticeably darkened in tone in recent years, Almodóvar has frequently dabbled in the daft; almost all of his films feature sequences which rival even I'm So Excited's most ridiculous moments and 1983's Dark Habits (a black comedy set in a convent) featured its own memorably OTT musical number. The difference here is how relentless - almost how exhausting - the riotous comedy is, yet the film benefits terrifically from a cast that get stuck in - particularly Cámara as the loose-lipped Joserra and (my personal favourite) Carlos Areces as the devout, faux-disapproving Fajas who carries a pop-up shrine in a briefcase.

I'm So Excited has pretensions to social and political commentary but the distance it flies from reality means that it doesn't particularly succeed in either. Though it contains significant nods to melodramas and thrillers, not least in its overblown score, it is a comedy first and foremost. I'm So Excited plays like an extended episode of 90s sitcom The High Life, with thick cuts of ham and cheese. It is not - as the title suggests hopefully - something to get particularly excited about, but Almodóvar offers guilty giggles aplenty in a film that's enjoyably, knowingly overdone.

  • I'm So Excited is in cinemas from Friday

Watch the trailer for I'm So Excited

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It plays like an extended episode of 90s sitcom 'The High Life'

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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