CARLOS ARECES   JAVIER CAMARA   RAUL AREVALO   LOLA DUENAS   CECILA ROSS   ANTONIO BANDERAS   PENELOPE CRUZ   PAZ VEGA

I’M SO EXCITED

 Pedro Almodovar’s films have always been on the edgy side, which is why he has gained such popularity in his country and in America.  His stories typically revolve around something funny on top of something very serious.  I’m So Excited is quite a departure for the 63 year-old director, who seems to have lost his talent for making vulgarity interesting or artistic.  This colorful, Borat/Bruno-like mess feels like something that never had a foundation to build on (unless he watched too many Pam Ann stand-up shows).  There is nothing set in reality here and he throws in his muses, Cruz and Banderas, in the opening scene; but for Americans who are not familiar with his work, this will be a scary plane ride.

 Peninsula Flight 2549 to Mexico City has problems, but the fact that the landing gear has malfunctioned and it will eventually have to crash-land seems to be the least of the worries.  Three experienced first-class flight attendants (all male, all gay) have decided to drug everyone in coach and entertain their passengers with alcohol, music, and sexual shenanigans.  One particular passenger claims to be a psychic and a virgin; one couple is on their honeymoon; a famous actress is on board alongside a disgraced businessman and a hit man. The pilots have their own drama in the cockpit, throwing back drinks and receiving sexual favors from the eccentric flight crew.

 There is no doubt this film might be funnier to those living in Mexico and South America.  Much as Sacha Baron Cohen nit-picked at certain national issues and taboos in American Culture, Almoldovar does the same with Mexico.  However, he seems far more interested in homosexual exploitation in this film than anything else.  At one point in the film (after everyone has participated in a strong alcoholic concoction) sex breaks out in every part of the plane.

 After a very short while, this begins to feel like a Mexican soap opera making fun of a soap opera.  The scenes that take us outside the plane really halt the energy (ridiculous as it may be) on the aircraft.  Thankfully, I’m So Excited is a short 90 minutes, as even the flight attendants run out of things with which to occupy their passengers.  In looking back at my favorite Almoldovar film, Volver (which earned Cruz an Oscar nomination), I see no creative narrative here or performances to brag on.

 Final Thought – Nothing to get excited about in Almodovar’s latest.

 Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase

Dr. Donna Copeland’s

2nd OPINION

 Has Almodovar become demented?  The title of this movie is the direct opposite of my experience in watching it; I could not wait for it to be over.  It is as if he itemized all the no-no’s in our society and started ticking them off one by one on a check list, with no more imagination than is on a check list.  How he was able to persuade the actors and producers to go along with the project is a mystery to me.  Penelope Cruz (Almodovar’s muse) and Antonio Banderas are shown only in a brief interchange in the beginning, but they are never seen again.  By their choice, probably.  The other actors, some of whom are Almodovar regulars, are good in their roles, but they cannot compensate for a bad script.

 The whole thing seems very mechanical; things like an emergency situation, family problems, addiction, sexual perversions, sexual acts, and the occult are inserted—once again like a checklist—as an attempt to titillate the viewer, I presume.  Although, like much of pornography, it has the opposite effect, that of a turn-off.  People call home on a phone in which their whole conversation—even from the other end—is broadcast, and we hear soap opera stories of people’s lives on the ground, like suicide, psychosis, business failure, and contract killing.

I expect that the gay community will object to the merciless jibes at effeminate mannerisms and behavior, which are hyper-exaggerated, as well as the association of drugs and alcohol with that group.  Of course, everyone on the plane indulges, but not as much as the gay flight attendants.  

It is amazing that a film about sex would be so uninspired and monotonous—and coming from the witty and talented Almodovar no less!   

Grade:  D