Left to Right: Javier Cámara as Joserra and Raúl Arévalo as Ulloa
Photo by Paola Ardizzoni & Emilio Pereda © El Deseo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
I’M SO EXCITED
2013, 90 minutes
Review by Joshua Handler
Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited is a light, campy treat
I’m So Excited is the new film by Pedro Almodóvar and is an Almodóvar film that fans of his will love. It is also a significant diversion from his previous decade or two of films like Volver and All About My Mother, which is not a bad thing, but isn’t great either, as this is easily the weakest film he’s done in quite a while. The film, an allegory for the state of the Spanish economy, follows a group of eccentric passengers on a malfunctioning airplane.
The allegorical aspect of the film works quite well, as it is an allegory for the recent financial crisis in Spain and shows how people tend to ignore problems and distract themselves with something nice until they absolutely have to confront them when it is too late. Almodóvar handles this aspect just subtly enough that is doesn’t overpower, and thus, detract from the story.
The cast is filled with Almodóvar’s usual group of actors including Javier Cámara. Lola Dueñas, Cecilia Roth, Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, etc. All of them play their respective roles to perfection. Cámara is particularly hilarious as a gay steward on the plane. His comedic timing is spot on and his screen presence is commanding, yet in a sweet sort of way. He and actors Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Areces are the highlights of the film as they are the comedic side characters that are actually hilarious. Almodóvar is one of the great gay filmmakers working today and naturally his gay characters are memorable. The trio of gay stewards are flamboyant, yet never overplayed. They are Almodóvar gay men. They are outrageous with fun idiosyncrasies. The rest of the characters are amusing and bizarre and are very much those of an Almodóvar film.
While I’m So Excited is a good movie, it isn’t what we’ve come to expect from Almodóvar who has crafted masterpiece after masterpiece for the past 14 years, starting with All About My Mother. I’m So Excited is much more like his earlier, campier, raunchier works. These are always fun to watch, but with the dramatic heft that Almodóvar has shown in his past group of films, it is just a bit of a disappointment. I’m So Excited’s narrative is much looser than the tight, coiled stories of Bad Education and The Skin I Live In, and some parts of it drag. That being said, there is absolutely no reason not to see I’m So Excited, as it is a very entertaining diversion that should have everyone laughing.
Overall, Almodóvar fans will be happy with this movie. He uses his usual cast and crew and they do great work, like always. Of particular note are Alberto Iglesias’ usually lively and Hermannesque score and José Luis Alcaine’s clever cinematography. I’m So Excited is a breath of fresh air in a summer filled with formulaic, predictable comedies. If there is one thing that I’m So Excited isn’t, it’s predictable, as it has more twists and turns than a fun house.