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I'm So Excited!/Los amantes pasajeros


Stars: Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Javier Camara, Carlos Areces, Raul Arevalo, Pepa Charro, Jose Maria Yazpik, Guillermo Toledo, Jose Luis Torrijo, Lola Duenas, Cecilia Roth, Blanca Suarez, Carmen Machi, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz.

Director: Pedro Almodovar

“Deliberately exaggerated and theatrical in style, typically for humorous effect” is one dictionary definition of ‘camp’. After watching Pedro Amodovar’s latest offering, dictionaries will have to rack up the definition one hundred percent or so. His comedy, set on board an airliner en route to Mexico City is so excruciatingly camp it makes the late Frankie Howerd resemble James Bond at his most butch.

The airliner is in trouble, having to circle in mid-air waiting for an airport that can handle a landing compromised by problems with the landing gear (blame Antonio Banderas who accidentally causes the damage on the ground while taking more interest in Penelope Cruz than in his job). The cabin crew has drugged the tourist class passengers into unconsciousness, thus saving scenarist-director Almodovar having to pay extras for performing. Action is confined to the cockpit (an unfortunate choice of word, perhaps, for the movie’s vigorous gay action), business class and the haunts of the relentlessly gay trio of stewards Javier Camara, Raul Arevalo and Carlos Areces whose swishy miming to the Pointer Sisters’ number that provides the film with its title is the high spot of a comedy that if it were only half as funny as Almodovar appears to believe it is it would actually be five times as funny as it actually is.

Subtlety is largely absent. Characters are larger than life (an actress who has become a dominatrix, a corrupt businessman and a woman who claims to be a psychic are utterly (and presumably deliberately) unconvincing despite a cast that gives Almodovar and his screenplay their all and then some. It’s good to see the director returning to comedy. What a pity, then, that his film (think Airplane! without many jokes, or any interesting characters) sadly crashes although, to be fair, it provides more flounce to the ounce than any movie I’ve seen in ages.

By the way, don’t be fooled by the appearances of Banderas and Cruz. They vanish soon after the start of the film.

I envied them.

Alan Frank

Spain 2013. UK Distributor: Pathe. Colour.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 May 2013