August 14, 2013

Get It On

I'm So Excited!

I'M SO EXCITED! (R) On an airline jet flying from Madrid to Mexico City, several of the business class passengers—a handsome actor (Guillermo Toledo), a dominatrix (Cecilia Roth) and a banker (José Luis Torrijo), among others—engage in ribald sexual encounters when the plane is forced to circle the skies instead of reaching its final destination. The flamboyantly gay flight attendants—Javier Cámara, Carlos Areces and Raúl Arévalo—do their best to keep things running smoothly and relatively normal, but it's not easy. The friendly skies get a completely new meaning with this lusty flight in the air.

Longtime Pedro Almodóvar fans have been waiting years to see Spain's most popular cinematic export return to the thematically provocative, over-the-top playfulness of his earlier movies, such as Dark Habits and Laws of Desire. Although I'm So Excited! is promiscuous in similar broad fashion, the sexual anarchy of those earlier features is unattainable for the now 63-year-old director to return to. Almodóvar's career since 1999's All About My Mother took a strange and wonderful turn; he became respectable in a manner of speaking. He started to display a deeper emotional canvas with his work, though never at the expense of the artistic attributes that made audiences all over the world madly infatuated with his movies in the first place. 

I'm So Excited! is no simple throwback, though it does fit snugly with Almodóvar's mid-period movies like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and Kika in terms of style and his aggressively rambunctious approach to sexual mores. At the same time, it feels like Almodóvar is going through the motions in this one. The major highlight is seeing the drunken, bitchy flight crew belt out their version of the Pointer Sisters' pop hit that the English language title is taken from, performing for us (the audience) in a madly boozy way that feels rightly exuberant. There are other minor highlights. There are brief cameos from Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas playing airport workers, the economy class is doped up and the pilots drink and talk about sex when not figuring their way out of the jam they and the plane are stuck in. 

Squashing so many social classes within the confines of the plane, it's clear that the director is striving to comment on how we interact on a personal/sexual level when not confined to our allotted stations. (It’s significant that the banker never gets it, once the libidinal forces are unleashed.) Ultimately, this is definitely lesser Almodóvar at play, but taken as a slightly dirty and diverting farce, I'm So Excited! makes for a perfect one-night stand.