I’m So Excited

Dir: Pedro Almodóvar

Stars: Javier Cámara, Antonio de la Torre, Carlos Areces, Raúl Arévalo,

A new Almodóvar (he actually uses both his names in the opening credits which is a portent for the more relaxed atmosphere of things to come) is always an event, and I’m So Excited already comes with it’s own controversy. Eschewing the most serious subject matter of his more recent films such as Talk To Her, The Skin I Live in, Volver and Bad Education in favour of a return to the gaudy comedies of his early career. However, the gay theme has not gone down to well in his native Spain, which is of course a staunchly Catholic and conservative country.

When the captain (de la Torre) informs the crew that they are going to have to make an emergency landing, it sends the Business Class air stewards Joserra, Fajas & Ulloa (Cámara, Areces & Arévalo) into a panic. Whilst the Economy Class passengers have all been drugged, they endeavour to keep the important customers distracted with the aid of Mezcal-spiked punch and a song and dance number to the titular song. The complex relationships between the crew and the hidden secrets of the rich travellers begin to unravel as the concoction kicks in.

I’m So Excited is an odd mix of camp humour and social commentary that both works and doesn’t. If you loved his early films like Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom, then you’re sure to enjoy this. It’s not to clear how fans of his more serious later work will respond. The high jinks and (airplane) toilet humour can sometimes wear a bit too thin, but the serious side stories are surprisingly touching at times. Along the way he takes a swipe at the Spanish elite, banks and corruption.

It feels somewhere between a bizarre camp spoof of Airplane and a Mexican soap opera. There is a great turn from Cecilia Roth as an indomitable dominatrix and bizarre early cameos from Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. Overall, it somehow all works, and you’ll leave having been thoroughly entertained. It’s not one of his best, but it’s still an enjoyable ride.

I’m So Excited is showing now at http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/imsoexcited