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I’m So Excited!

Year: 2013
Production Co: El Deseo SA
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Writer: Pedro Almodovar
Cast: Paz Vega, Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas

After being a critical darling for so many years but with mainstream audiences saying 'who?' at the mention of his name, maybe Pedro Almodovar wanted to make something silly and fun that would play in a multiplex.

The only thing I can think accounts for the critical dislike of I'm So Excited! is the broad and stereotyped gay caricatures, because this film contained the straight-edged humour I've seen in his career. Maybe that's why critics hated it – they were mortally offended that he would drop his standards to the lower cerebral altitudes (see what I did there) usually flown by the Farrelly or Wayans' brothers.

If that was the plan it seems to have failed in any case, the film returning not quite $12m globally from a $45m budget. A shame really, because the crowds that loved Mamma Mia and My Big Fat Greek Wedding would have loved the song and dance number set to the song that gives the film its name.

But there's another dimension to all this. Apparently it is indeed a cleverly veiled satire befitting Almodovar's reputation. As a flight circles in the air waiting for an airport to land at in Mexico City, it (apparently) has something to do with the eroding Spanish economy, idiots in the drivers' seat (the pilots, as boozed up and uncaring as the flight attendants) and the general public kept in the dark, possibly symbolised by the economy passengers all sleeping for the entire flight after the flight attendants have drugged them.

There's not much of a plot per se. The three first class stewards - all of them flamboyantly and outrageously gay – the pilots and the first class passengers, which include a former model and a contract killer, all drink, screw and stab each other in the back while the controllers on the ground stall for time as they try and find a working airport thanks to the tanking economy.

Midway through it all there's a strange subplot going on where a beautiful woman finds a mobile belonging to the former girlfriend of one of the passengers and rekindles a strange relationship with him when it turns out they know each other.

If you want to get sophisticated you can wonder what it's saying about the dark desires in all our relationships, but if you don't want to think too deeply you can see it as the Spanish Flying High. The film gives you no indication which tone Almodovar was going for, but if you're not a rabid fan of his usual themes you might not care.

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