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Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm So Excited!: Was I Too Harsh?

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Pedro Almodóvar's latest, I'm So Excited!, opens locally at Cinema 21 today and... does this ever happen to you?: You see a movie, you're kind of nonplussed by it, just like "meh, it's sorta fun I guess," but then as soon as you start talking about it and articulating your impressions you realize that you dislike it way more than you thought you did? That happened to me with this film.

It seems kinda fun, right? Almodóvar himself has described it as "a light, very light comedy." There is some poking at Spain's economic woes (one of the country's ghost airports is a plot point, and the crippled commercial airplane the majority of the film takes place on—circling the air looking for a place to crash—can be seen as a metaphor for the country's economy as a whole). Onboard, the unwashed masses in coach have literally been opiated by the stewards, which both serves to signal disparity and pares down the cast to the more manageable few knocking around in business class.

My disappointment with it is that it takes this pretty decent set-up and proceeds to not be very funny or engaging. Once informed of their impending, potentially fatal crash landing, everyone awake starts guzzling alcohol, including a "Valencia cocktail" laced with mescaline, which leads to them sharing their stories with one another, and eventually to sex in the airplane's cabin and bathroom (I can't abide the film's expectation that we're supposed to think it's charming when one woman sneaks back into coach and rapes one of the drugged young men).

But the whole thing is delivered with on an unserious, soap opera note that makes it hard to stay interested in any of the characters, the film's idea of scintillation and sexual boundary pushing feels at least a decade behind, and... shit, it happened again. I know that a lot of Almodóvar loyalists are going to see it, and they should—I'm looking forward to someone coming to me with a counterpoint to my grumps.

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