I’M SO EXCITED
It was meant to be a campy, kitsch comedy about trolley dollies. Almodovar’s I’m So Excited might also just be his worst movie ever, writes Marc Andrews.
It says a lot about Pedro Almodovar’s latest film that he wastes guest cameos from Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz within the first two minutes in a throwaway scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the film. I’m So Excited is a lost opportunity.
It was supposed to be a nod to his screwball comedies of the past, upping the gay ante to satisfy critics who complained his recent efforts had bypassed any discernible gay characters. But when I’m So Excited landed on the big screen there were few who managed to find anything vaguely pleasant about its grating, relentless über-campy nonsense. Now that it’s limped onto DVD, it has to be said this is one big fat plane crash.
I’m So Excited is so full of stereotyped and hyper-overwrought homosexuals you wonder why no one working on the movie pointed this out to its director. At times it seems more like a remnant from the 1970s, when people didn’t know any better about gay men or gay life. It paints gay men as generally evil, devious, conniving beings whose only joy in life is either dishing out drugs (we’ll get to that in a
Almodovar must believe gay men are popping Quaaludes like they never went out of fashion.
moment), or dishing on each other. For some odd reason, Almodovar must believe gay men are popping Quaaludes like they never went out of fashion.
As for the plot, it’s about Peninsula Flight 2549 which has a technical failure and then lands. In between there are meandering, dead-end storylines like one about someone’s girlfriend who somehow finds a mobile phone that’s fallen from a bridge and realises it’s her ex on the line (an every day occurrence in Almodovarland). Did we mention it fell out of the hand of his other girlfriend who was about to jump off that bridge? If that sounds ridiculously laboured and supremely overthought, that’s how it comes across on screen.
Also on board is a bitter old diva with a big dirty secret, a hitman who falls in love with her and who also, it turns out, was supposed to kill her… need we go on? We wanted to love this one. Almodovar films often resonate, and he was at his gay best Law Of Desire (1987), a sexy thriller starring Antonio showing lots of flesh.
I’m So Excited is not only forgettable, it has a slight case of homophobia. We’re not talking about the stereotyping (does every male flight attendant really have arched eyebrows?), but the fact the straight characters are shown having sex in this movie, but the gay ones only get to talk about it. After a while the high campery of the three male flight attendants is not so much annoying as it is nauseating.
The one highlight is where our trio of shrill trolley dollies whiz through a dance routine on to The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited. If only the movie had included more of this sparkling silliness it might have been less, well, dull. This may be the first Almodovar movie that has committed the cardinal sin of being downright boring. If you’re still awake by the end of the movie… we owe you an apology.
Since this film’s release, Almodovar hasn’t attached himself to any new project. Maybe he’s still sulking at its less than lukewarm reception. Another interesting thing is that when you look through his impressive catalogue of films, he was consistently nominated and winning awards at the Golden Globes, Cannes and the Oscars (for 2002’s Talk To Her).
I’m So Excited is his first movie in three decades not to have been nominated for an award of any sort or to have been listed among critics’ best movies of the year. He tried to pass it off as “a light, very light comedy” but this slice of past-its-use-by date stinky fluff has sullied the Almodovar brand. Let’s hope when his next movie arrives it’s a dazzling return to form.
more: I’m So Excited is released on DVD and Blu-Ray through Transmission.