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I'm So Excited! - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
I'm So Excited!
Directing: C+
Acting: B-
Writing: C
Cinematography: B+
Editing: C+

Maybe comedy just isn't Pedro Almodóvar's thing. Not this year, anyway.

Judging by I'm So Excited! (called Los Amantes Pasajeros in Spanish, which translates to The Passenger Lovers, which actually makes a lot more sense), Almodóvar has lost his comic touch. Any fan of this director will understand when I say the film is very earnest in its Almodóvar-ness; it has his indelible stamp all over it. But it seems far more concerned with that veneer than it does with coalescing as a complete story, or even a particularly funny one.

The vast majority of the film takes place either on an airport tarmac or in an airplane, with a few cutaways to other characters the plane passengers call during an extended period of time flying in circles due to faulty landing gear. There's something oddly compelling about these scenes, which is par for the course with Almodóvar, but ultimately they mean little, and feel a bit like filler.

This is a plane that took off from Spain to Mexico, so it's a big one, with tons of passengers, thereby providing the potential for a huge number of characters. Never one for huge ensemble casts, Almodóvar takes care of this by having the flight crew drug everyone in coach so they're asleep for the entire movie. All of the action on the plane occurs either in the cockpit, the flight crew area, or in Business Class -- where there are more empty seats than full ones. The few characters left have their seemingly obligatory eccentricities: a young-ish woman who claims her virginity is due to being psychic; an aging woman who claims to have video footage of all her high-profile clients as a dominatrix; a swindler running from the law. There's also a newlywed couple on their way to their honeymoon, "the groom" (as the flight crew refers to him) having smuggled drugs onto the plan in his ass, and the bride being drugged to sleep through most of the movie as well. There are also the three male flight attendants, affecting such effeminacy in their telegraphed gayness that Almodóvar apparently lives in 1973 movie-land; and the pilot and co-pilot, who themselves have an incredible number of conversations about degrees of bisexuality depending on the amount of cock sucking that's been done or had.

I'll say this about the movie: it has possibly the strangest sex scene ever put on film, and it involves nearly all of the aforementioned characters. In one instance, a dollop of semen is discovered at the corner of a man's mouth, and then used as a punch line. You won't see that in mainstream American cinema.

Almodóvar also seems to have a thing for both detailed production design and acute attention to cinematography. Indeed, if nothing else, I'm So Excited! is pleasant to look at, right from the opening scene, which features past Almodóvar muses Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz in cameo appearances as tarmac workers prepping the plane for departure. The camera moves very deliberately, even something as innocuous as a pile of suitcases is perfectly framed, and we get a little foreshadowing in the form of drops of blood on a smart phone screen while another guy tweets sarcastically about bleeding to death.

Much is made of the aforementioned psychic's apparent ability to "smell death," although the worst seen thereafter is a cut on the head of a woman who isn't even on the plane. There is nothing here in the way of special effects; once the plane lands, instead of seeing the crash, we only hear it, while the camera slowly pans through strangely empty spaces of the airport. Whether it was an economic or an artistic choice, it doesn't quite work.

While the plane is in the air, the flight attendants concern themselves with keeping the few conscious passengers calm while they await news of a runway being cleared for them in La Mancha. Mostly this involves alcohol and more drugs, which is also served to the co-pilot. The movie starts with a title card letting us know that everything that happens in the movie is fantasy and bears no relation to reality. What a relief! Of course, I could have told you that after taking one look at the three male flight attendants, who are so broadly stereotyped it's practically a slap in the face.

To its credit, the movie at least holds your attention. But the types of details that Pedro Almodóvar are much more suited to his recent dramas, like The Skin I Live In (2011) or the excellent Volver (2006), than to something he's trying -- and, ultimately, failing -- to make more fun. I got a few laughs out of this movie, but at least half of those were more from confusion than actually getting it. There's a lot Almodóvar that can fly over people's heads, but I'm So Excited! doesn't quite take off at all.

One of the few even moderately exciting moments in I'M SO EXCITED!

Overall: C+
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