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Friday, 26 July 2013 00:00

'I'm So Excited' delivers less than its title promises

'I'm So Excited' delivers less than its title promises imdb.com
Written by Diane Carson
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In several of his films, Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar indulges a riotous zaniness, including "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" and "Volver." His newest "I'm So Excited" only periodically achieves the heights I expect from Almodóvar, though this much slighter film still delivers a few wonderfully zany moments.

Almodóvar regulars Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas kick things off as Peninsula Air ground crew who accidentally leave the wheel chocks to get caught in the landing gear that now won't deploy properly. The flight from Madrid to Mexico City will have to circle, wait for a free runway, dump fuel, and land, eventually, in La Mancha, Almodóvar's and Don Quixote's home region. While cruising and waiting, the few passengers in business class, the pilot and co-pilot, and three emphatically gay flight attendants will assess their lives and their loves, especially their loves.

Anyone offended by a lot of talk about sex, especially gay sex, would wisely avoid "I'm So Excited," for that focus dominates most exchanges. Moreover, the trio of gay business-class stewards relies on drink, drugs, and their own dramatic flair to deal with the crisis. The most inspired and blazingly hilarious sequence comes courtesy of these three dancing around the cabin as they lip-synch to the Pointer Sisters' title song. Too many other scenes lack the energy and wit of that music video as the sex talk skews more often toward boring bickering rather than clever banter.

Filling in the gaps, sometimes with cutaways, the passengers' stories unfold but with little flair. There's a dominatrix to the rich and famous, a would-be psychic determined to lose her virginity, a CEO whose corrupt banking practices have been exposed, a hit man, and more talk about and simulated sex. Almodóvar has called this a metaphor for Spain, with the back of the plane passengers drugged to endure "economy class syndrome."

The art direction, as usual with Almodóvar, boasts glorious colors, the sound is smart, and the landing brilliantly handled. But the farcical world of "I'm So Excited" lacks the coherent edginess and smart satire Almodóvar has previously achieved. In Spanish with English subtitles, at a Landmark Theatre.

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