English Title: I’m So Excited!
Original Title: Los amantes pasajeros
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Music: Alberto Iglesias
Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine
Antonio de la Torre
José Luis Torrijo
José María Yazpik
Miguel Ángel Silvestre
Almodóvar’s latest offering after his posh genre thriller THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011) is an outré farce which is evocative of his earlier output in the 80s, almost exclusively restrained inside a plane, more specifically, the cockpit and the business cabin, I’M SO EXCITED! is a hilarious parody of AIRPLANE! (1980). We all know economy is depressing and life is governed by austerity measures in Spain nowadays, so it wouldn’t be a more opportune time for a screwball comedy to satirise the circumstances and offer its audience tons of fun, Almodóvar is a dab hand to achieve this mission, the film not only potently leads us to break away from the grim reality for 90 minutes, but also conducts its cunning metaphors for the aftertaste if one is familiar with the social contexts in Spain.
A plane from Madrid to Mexico City is hovering around for hours since one of its undercarriage malfunctions (thanks to Banderas and Cruz’s cameo), it is waiting for an empty airfield runaway to execute emergency landing, passengers in the economy class are dozing off under the influence of medication, spiked into their beverage by the cabin crew in order not to cause chaos, while in the business cabin, a mélange of passengers are unleashed into their own frenzy. It is overtly the gayest movie in the school of Almodóvar since LAW OF DESIRE (1987), the three air stewards Joserra, Fajas and Ulloa (Cámara, Areces and Arévalo) are all gay, and the pilot Álex (de la Torre) is a bisexual family man now in a relationship with Joserra, and the co-pilot (Silva) has his own sexual disorientation problem.
The palette is a shade muter than one’s general expectation of an Almodóvar comedy, but not the craziness, especially when some anal smuggled mescaline (cached by a newly-wed to spice up his honeymoon) is put to use, everyone starts to either confess or being ecstatically aroused, the high point is Lola Dueñas’ Bruna, a psychic middle-aged virgin, foreshadows the “smell of death” trope, and the way of her quest to lose her virginity is a hoot. There are outside cabin scenes about the episode of Ricardo (Toledo), who is an actor and a passenger on board, he deserts his insane and suicidal girlfriend Alba (Vega) then by peer coincidence, contacts with another ex-girlfriend Rith (Suárez), it is a corny philander’s introspection and remorse when he reaches hanging-by-a-thread moment. Cecilia Roth is Norma, a dominatrix whose self-acclaimed collection of sex tapes with many VIPs incurs a threat of her own life by an anonymous assassin (María Yazpik), last but not the least, Sr. Más (Luis Torrijo), a banker with criminal background tries to abscond abroad, finds his alienated daughter and decides to turn himself in to face the music.
The gay trio’s signposting dance routine of The Pointer Sisters’ I’M SO EXCITED is simply priceless, apart from being a lightweight diversion, the movie implies many seedy business of the political and societal situations, and what’s more important, it is a tenable fight-back to those who question Almodóvar’s versatility and audacity, he still got it, one must admit.