This summer brings a wide variety of programming to screens all across the country, even marking the return of one of foreign cinemas most important voices. With "I'm So Excited", writer/director Pedro Almodovar returns to his campy farcical roots, with some fairly mean spirited but still kind of funny results.
A technical failure has endangered the lives of the passengers on Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots, hardened, experienced professionals, are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. And a unique solution it is since they drug the economy class senseless while distracting the business class patrons with a mixture of free flowing booze and song and dance numbers. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, as the business class section turns into a hot bed of sex, lies and juicy secrets that they hope never get out...if they survive!
Very reminiscent of some of Almodovar's earlier film, "I'm So Excited" tried for campy and fun but ended up being more than a little cynical as we had a plane filled of characters we didn't even like in the slightest and while there were some genuinely funny moments you get the feeling it never quite got there. Filled with vibrant colours and over the top characters, we never really got a chance to genuinely connect with any of them as they were going through the motions in this over the top farce. He does deserve some points as the truly comic bits, like an inspired musical number where our flight stewards lip sync to the entire title song, hit like absolute gangbusters but those moments are sadly few and far between as we get a plethora of sexual sabotage and innuendo that doesn't discriminate if you are straight or if you are gay and with the comedy misfiring on multiple levels it gets tiresome even when it tries to deliver a positive message at the heart of this foul mouthed cabaret. Even with a couple of fun performances, it just can't sustain itself.
Javier Camara, Carlos Areces, Raul Arevalo as the stewards were simply throwing as many jokes and gags up on the screen as they possible could and at moments it felt like even they were getting exhausted, but manage to keep us interested as an audience because we quite often need a break right when they do. The pilots and passengers each got a moment or two to shine, but it was usually while we were taking a break from the alcohol fueled and drug addled zaniness provided by the stewards. All in all it made for a very uneven film as we very often didn't know which way was up.
Picture and sound quality were obviously first rate and the special features on this combo pack release include a brief look at the making of the film and a Q&A with filmmakers and stars at a screening along with a look at the premiere.
I won't say there weren't moments in "I'm So Excited" that made me genuinely laugh, but with its incredibly uneven pacing, it's hard to get all that excited about this story that is ultimately born of love, no matter how fun it is. However, someone like Almodovar has most true film fans permission to branch in any way that they want.
3 out of 5 stars.