I'm So Excited-680
Photo by Paola Ardizzoni & Emilio Pereda © El Deseo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Perhaps because he took such a somber turn in his last film, the ultra-serious The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar has opted for a return to the outrageous sexual humor that put him on the map. It’s fun to see cinema’s leading bad boy having fun again…for a while. Ultimately, I’m So Excited deflates like a balloon, expelling air until there’s almost nothing left.

The multi-character piece is built around the diverse passengers in the First Class cabin of a flight that appears to be heading for disaster, due to carelessness we’ve witnessed in the movie’s opening scene. The male flight attendants are flamboyantly gay and the equally colorful passengers turn out to have connections they might not have realized, or acted upon, except in this extreme situation.

Some of these figures (played by such Almodóvar veterans as Cecilia Roth, Javier Cámara, Blanca Suárez, Lola Dueñas, and Paz Vega, along with several newcomers) have compelling soliloquies that introduce serious and even melancholy moments to the proceedings but overall, I’m So Excited! is a farce, marked by startling sexual candor and one amusing musical number.

It doesn’t add up to very much, sorry to say. I can’t be overly harsh because I so admire Almodóvar’s career, from his early comedies to the mature work of recent years. This latest effort may be the result of a great man spinning his wheels, but I have faith that he will return to form—and soon.