Synopsis: A very varied group of people are in a precarious situation aboard a plane flying to Mexico City.
A technical failure (a kind of justifiable negligence, even though it sounds contradictory, but that’s what human actions are) has endangered the lives of the passengers on Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots, hardened, experienced professionals are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death.
Release Date: June 28, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Musical
Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In was one of the darkest, most twisted films to have come out in 2011. So how does he follow it up? With a rip-roaring, high-flying, sexually charged black comedy called I’m So Excited.
I’m So Excited is the story of an airplane whose landing gear is damaged upon takeoff and unable to land. While the pilots and flight crew try to keep the malfunction a secret for as long as possible, eventually the passengers find out and the plane becomes a vessel full of misbehavior, debauchery, and, well, honesty. The two pilots dance around a secret that they share that goes much deeper than the broken landing gear. A psychic woman wanders the corridors of the plane, bent on losing her virginity. A high-class call girl makes friends with a hit man. Another man comes to terms with his past over the phone in the form of two women on the ground. A pair of newlyweds is determined to not let a plane crash ruin their wedding night. And all of the hi-jinks are held together by three flaming homosexual male flight attendants who, despite their own drama, just want to make the passengers comfortable in what may be their last hours alive.
Written and directed by Almodóvar, I’m So Excited is a campy retro journey into the friendly skies. In some ways, it’s typical Almodóvar; the characters are colorful, the story is eccentric, and the photography is striking. His films have run the gamut from strict drama (The Skin I Live In, Bad Education) to offbeat comedy (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), but I’m So Excited is as pure of a comedy as he’s ever made. The subject matter is dark – extremely dark in places – but it is treated lightly and humorously, never getting too heavy or weighed down. The script is clever and witty with tons of heart â the ultimate story is one of redemption and catharsis, with each passenger facing and attempting to conquer their different demons before the plane goes down. It is both a character study and an effective comic narrative, taking advantage of the limited and claustrophobic setting to allow the audience to become invested in the various characters while simultaneously laughing and smiling with them. As strange as it sounds, I’m So Excited is a feel-good dark comedy.
Although they are given top billing, Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz are barely in I’m So Excited at all; the cast is listed in order of appearance, and the pair’s cameo occurs at the beginning of the film. Instead of overusing his two favorite A-listers, Pedro Almodóvar opts for casting actors and actresses who are less recognizable, particularly to audiences outside of Spain. The results are a cast that is more of an ensemble instead of a group of stars, and the feeling is important to the tone and vibe of the film. Some of Almodóvarâs usual suspects are in the film, such as Lola Duenas (Volver, Talk to Her) as the clairvoyant Bruna and Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother, Labyrinth of Passion) as the madam Norma, and they both serve their roles well. Antonio de la Torre (The Last Circus) and Jose Maria Yazpik (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) are great as Alex the pilot and Infante the hit man, respectively. However, the focal point of the film is the trio of gay stewards, played to perfection by Javier Camara (another of Almodóvar’s favorites from Talk to Her and Bad Education), Carlos Areces (Game of Werewolves) and Raul Arevalo (Dark Blue Almost Black). The three men exhibit a timing and chemistry that really steals the film; whenever they’re offscreen, the audience just waits for the moment when they appear again. The absence of huge name stars helps the viewer to concentrate on the story, and the ensemble cast in I’m So Excited captures both the humor and the heart in Almodóvar’s script.
Foreign comedies are a tough nut to crack. Much of the time, humor is lost in the cultural exchange. Other instances, the jokes don’t translate well via subtitles. In I’m So Excited, Pedro Almodóvar has tapped into a cross-cultural form of humor that is funny regardless of the language in which it is presented. The comedy in I’m So Excited is the type of potty-mouthed, lowest common denominator stuff that is found in teenage films like American Pie, only much smarter and more subtle. Almodóvar takes the rude and crude and polishes it up, making it almost sophisticated. The humor is both situational and verbal, relying on both unique circumstances and quick wordplay. Easily the most uproarious scene is supplied by the three flight attendants who, in an effort to entertain and distract, do a hilarious lip-sync to the film’s title song, The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” As they dance and prance around the plane, the passengers just kind of stare at them, wondering what the heck is happening. The audience wonders along with them, but with more amusement than annoyance. That’s the type of comedy that epitomizes I’m So Excited: three gay men doing a cabaret routine to an eighties pop song.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Pedro Almodovar
- Screenwriter(s): Pedro Almodovar
- Cast: Antonio Banderas (Leon)Penelope Cruz (Jessica)Antonio de la Torre (Alex Acero) Hugo Silva (Benito Moron)Javier Camara (Joserra)Jose Maria Yazpik (Infante)Lola Duenas (Bruna)Paz Vaga (Alba)Blanca Suarez (Ruth)Carmen Machi (Portera)
- Cinematographer: Jose Luis Alcaine
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Alberto Iglesias
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA