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I’M SO EXCITED! (review)

los_amantes_pasajerosI’M SO EXCITED!
Written and Directed by Pedro Almodovar

Starring Javier Camara, Cecilia Roth and Lola Duenas

I have to say, I’d been quite excited to see I’M SO EXCITED! since it was announced that writer/director, Pedro Almodvar, would be returning to his absurdist comedy roots. My excitement came into some question when I first saw the trailer for the film, which basically just featured three male stewards on a plane, lip-synching and dancing to The Pointer Sisters’ classic, “I’m So Excited”. It was amusing but it left me wondering what on earth could be in store for Almodovar’s 19th film. And then when it finally came time to see the movie, I watched my excitement over it fall away little by little, until it ended and I was left about as giddy as a plane crash.

I commend Almodovar for trying. His later films, while brilliant, have been quite heavy, both dramatically and aesthetically. It is no wonder he would want to revisit his earlier years, when his comedy was outlandish but still light-hearted. Even his visual approach to filmmaking has been intensifying over the years and I suppose he longed for the days when his color palette was all bright, all the time. So, yes, I don’t blame him for going there but sometimes, you just can’t go back.

The majority of I’M SO EXCITED! takes place on an airplane. Shortly after takeoff, the crew notices that there is an issue with the landing gear and they will have to stage an emergency landing. And so they circle and they wait for someone to tell them where they will be able to land. In the meantime, the cramped coach travelers are drugged to sleep to avoid mass hysteria, while the handful of business class passengers are left to their own insanity. The remaining crew, made up of five gay men, three stewards and two pilots, attempt to keep everyone calm with alcohol and choreography.

Film still from I'm So Excited by Pedro Almodovar

One by one, the upper class passengers reveal who they are. There’s a madam, a psychic, a contract killer, a cheating husband and strung out newlyweds. There are a couple of ties here and there but none that matter really and certainly none that actually go anywhere. In grand tradition, they are all reasonably colorful (read, dramatic) characters and their flare is further exacerbated by two major factors. The first is the fear that they might actually die and the second is all the alcohol they drink and all the mescaline that they take.

This is where everything gets a little dicey. Once the drugs are taken, it’s anybody’s game. Stewards sleep with pilots; the newlyweds wake from their slumber just long enough to bang one out in front of everyone; one passenger, the psychic (Lola Duenas), even gets the idea to sneak back into coach and mount one of the sleeping passengers who has a noticeable erection in his pants. I could be wrong here but I’m pretty sure that surrealism is not a justifiable excuse for what is essentially rape.

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Issues aplenty amongst the passengers are raised during the flight but none are ever resolved. In fact, it almost seems like their melodrama is what actually forces the plane out of the sky. In reality though, what goes up must eventually come down and, much like this troubled flight, Almodovar crashes pretty hard here. There are no fatalities but the damage is still done. I’M SO EXCITED! is intentionally meant to be ridiculous and campy, and it is, but it is never so ridiculous that it actually reaches that place where absurdity becomes hilarity.

2_5

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