I’m So Excited

From internationally acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, I’m So Excited is a futile attempt to explore crisis-induced catharsis from 30,000 feet up in the air.

When employees at an airport in Spain fail to properly prepare a plane before takeoff, the pilots and crew are left to deal with the repercussions.

Opening Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial, the Spanish-language film blatantly acknowledges Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo with a hypnotic close-up of the plane’s rotating engine. After viewing the movie in its entirety, however, it’s not clear why, other than for the sake of homage. Perhaps it’s meant to signal a departure from conceptual coherence and the beginning of a haphazardly constructed voyage of a film.

Originally bound for Mexico City, the plane cannot safely land because of the mistakes made by airline employees

Drugs play the biggest role in the ensuing chaos en route to nowhere. In economy class, flight attendants give the passengers overdoses of muscle relaxants so they can remain blissfully unaware of the situation at hand.

In business class, the amiably flamboyant male flight attendants — played by Spanish cinema veteran Javier Cámara (Paris, je t’aime) and lesser-known Spanish actors Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Areces — stir up some Valencia cocktails heavy on the prescription sedatives.

The passengers include an internationally known dominatrix, a hit man assigned to assassinate her, a middle-aged virgin psychic and newlyweds transporting drugs to Mexico, among other elusive individuals. As the atypical group begins to realize the predicament they’re in, frantic phone calls to their loved ones on the ground reveal their respectively dicey situations.

The pilots, just as unstable as the drugged-up passengers, try to conceal the increasingly dire emergency. While the economy passengers sleep soundly, business-class occupants are on to the crew, and it’s clear the flight attendants should have drugged them sooner.

When the male flight attendants eventually do an impromptu, drunken dance routine to the Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited,” it seems as if Almodovar felt he had to formulate an entire comedy to justify this sole dance sequence, when a short film most likely would have sufficed.

With Almodovar’s return to the genre that put him on the map in the 1980s, I’m So Excited amplifies humanity’s hedonistic tendencies in the midst of an insurmountable crisis. This seems like the blueprint for a perfect Almodovar comedy, but more often than not, the results verge toward the trite slapstick of Airplane.

After 2011’s The Skin I Live In, the director certainly proved his expansive cinematic range. This time, however, unlike the plane in the film, Almodovar’s ideas just don’t come full circle.

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Aimee Williams

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