Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: I'm So Excited!

Pedro Almodóvar pivots sharply away from his recent psychodramas for a lively but somewhat rote camp cabaret comedy set on board an endangered passenger jet filled with nervous passengers and bitchy flight attendants.

June 27, 2013

-By Chris Barsanti


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1380158-Im_So_Excited_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The Spanish title for Pedro Almodóvar’s newest film, The Amorous Passengers, is more to the point than its English title, I’m So Excited!, even if it doesn’t leave as much to the imagination. That’s alright, though, as the film itself doesn’t have much truck with leaving anything unsaid. It’s a fashion-magazine potboiler, gossipy and brash, whose attention keeps wandering south of the waistline.

The action starts on the ground, where a couple of runway workers (Almodóvar vets Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas popping by for a zippy cameo) let their frantic romantic passions take their attention away from the job at hand. And so Peninsula Flight 2549 to Mexico City takes off with critically damaged landing gear. Up in the air, the story starts to unfurl its chaos in claustrophobic quarters. In short order, the few passengers scattered through the business-class cabin realize that their pilots have them in a holding pattern around Toledo while they look for an emergency runway to crash-land on. An itchy tension and desire to get right with one’s life immediately set in. Everybody back in economy is just fine with the whole situation, since they have been drugged into a stupor with muscle relaxants.

Standards seem lax on Peninsula Airlines, with the trio of campy flight attendants moving swiftly from mass-drugging to doing tequila shots and divulging every secret they possibly can. Their high-net-worth wards are a sharply sketched and flashy bunch, from a high-strung woman with faded film-star histrionics, to a dark and mustachioed man with secrets, to an actor conducting urgent phone calls with his current and former lover on the ground, to a wide-eyed innocent with claims to psychic powers. The film shoots quickly through the phase of keeping the passengers in the dark to one where everybody realizes they may well die soon. As desperation sets in, the liquor continues to flow, more drugs are produced, accusations leveled, and an interlocking lattice of frantically lustful coupling takes over the cabin.

As with the best Almodóvar comedies, the sensibility is one of finely tuned dramatics and neon-bright characterizations—particular standouts being Javier Cámara as the jittery chief steward and Lola Dueñas as the would-be psychic looking to lose her virginity before dying—laid over a foundation of barely contained chaos. In a sharp turn from the darker and richer textures of his more recent films like Volver and The Skin I Live In, the palette here is bright and two-dimensional (there is a hint of subtext relating to modern Spanish economic and government scandals, but it’s quickly rushed by). There are throwback references aplenty, to pop comedies of the 1950s and ’60s and screwball theatrics of an earlier era, a choreographed musical number (to The Pointer Sisters’ title song), and a final freeze-frame that could have been taken from any number of ’80s raunch romps.

But where one would imagine that the confined space would cause the generally frantic nature of Almodóvar’s comedy to be explosively compressed, all it does here is limit the filmmaker’s normally grand visual schemes. I’m So Excited! would seem to be an easy one for this filmmaker and something of a return to form. But the cocktail of cabaret and disaster-flick theatrics has less pop to it than one would imagine; too much sugar and not enough bite.


Film Review: I'm So Excited!

Pedro Almodóvar pivots sharply away from his recent psychodramas for a lively but somewhat rote camp cabaret comedy set on board an endangered passenger jet filled with nervous passengers and bitchy flight attendants.

June 27, 2013

-By Chris Barsanti


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1380158-Im_So_Excited_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The Spanish title for Pedro Almodóvar’s newest film, The Amorous Passengers, is more to the point than its English title, I’m So Excited!, even if it doesn’t leave as much to the imagination. That’s alright, though, as the film itself doesn’t have much truck with leaving anything unsaid. It’s a fashion-magazine potboiler, gossipy and brash, whose attention keeps wandering south of the waistline.

The action starts on the ground, where a couple of runway workers (Almodóvar vets Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas popping by for a zippy cameo) let their frantic romantic passions take their attention away from the job at hand. And so Peninsula Flight 2549 to Mexico City takes off with critically damaged landing gear. Up in the air, the story starts to unfurl its chaos in claustrophobic quarters. In short order, the few passengers scattered through the business-class cabin realize that their pilots have them in a holding pattern around Toledo while they look for an emergency runway to crash-land on. An itchy tension and desire to get right with one’s life immediately set in. Everybody back in economy is just fine with the whole situation, since they have been drugged into a stupor with muscle relaxants.

Standards seem lax on Peninsula Airlines, with the trio of campy flight attendants moving swiftly from mass-drugging to doing tequila shots and divulging every secret they possibly can. Their high-net-worth wards are a sharply sketched and flashy bunch, from a high-strung woman with faded film-star histrionics, to a dark and mustachioed man with secrets, to an actor conducting urgent phone calls with his current and former lover on the ground, to a wide-eyed innocent with claims to psychic powers. The film shoots quickly through the phase of keeping the passengers in the dark to one where everybody realizes they may well die soon. As desperation sets in, the liquor continues to flow, more drugs are produced, accusations leveled, and an interlocking lattice of frantically lustful coupling takes over the cabin.

As with the best Almodóvar comedies, the sensibility is one of finely tuned dramatics and neon-bright characterizations—particular standouts being Javier Cámara as the jittery chief steward and Lola Dueñas as the would-be psychic looking to lose her virginity before dying—laid over a foundation of barely contained chaos. In a sharp turn from the darker and richer textures of his more recent films like Volver and The Skin I Live In, the palette here is bright and two-dimensional (there is a hint of subtext relating to modern Spanish economic and government scandals, but it’s quickly rushed by). There are throwback references aplenty, to pop comedies of the 1950s and ’60s and screwball theatrics of an earlier era, a choreographed musical number (to The Pointer Sisters’ title song), and a final freeze-frame that could have been taken from any number of ’80s raunch romps.

But where one would imagine that the confined space would cause the generally frantic nature of Almodóvar’s comedy to be explosively compressed, all it does here is limit the filmmaker’s normally grand visual schemes. I’m So Excited! would seem to be an easy one for this filmmaker and something of a return to form. But the cocktail of cabaret and disaster-flick theatrics has less pop to it than one would imagine; too much sugar and not enough bite.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

May in the Summer
Film Review: May in the Summer

Jordanian brides, their sisters, difficult moms and diffident men would seem to have a lot in common with Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Heigl and other WASP princesses with their own predictable white-gown blues in countless rom-coms. More »

To be Takei
Film Review: To Be Takei

The kaleidoscopic life of the Enterprise's chauffeur—an Asian and gay showbiz pioneer—is explored in this entertaining but diffuse documentary. More »

K2: Siren of the Himalayas
Film Review: K2: Siren of the Himalayas

Mountaineering documentary follows an expedition to K2 in the Himalayas. More »

The Possession of Michael King
Film Review: The Possession of Michael King

All unhappy families may be unhappy in their own way, but movies about possession/exorcism tend to a numbing sameness. That said, The Possession of Michael King, yet another "found footage" frightener, whips up some creepy moments and features a strong performance by Shane Johnson as the atheist who makes the mistake of daring the Devil to prove he's not just another bogeyman. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here