Thursday, July 25, 2013

Almodovar's flight remains grounded

When a gifted filmmaker misses the mark, it's best to simply note the failure and move on. That's pretty much how I felt about Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited!. Although its set almost entirely on a jetliner, Almodovar's new movie barely gets off the ground. After cameo appearances by Almodovar veterans Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, the movie finds its true focus, introducing us to the pilots, crew and first-class passengers of a Spain-to-Mexico flight that will be forced to make an unexpected landing. Almodovar builds the movie around three gleefully gay flight attendants (Javier Camara, Raul Arevalo and Carlos Areces), the trio that lip-synchs the Pointer Sisters' song that provides the movie with its disco-dizzy title. If you know Almodovar's filmography -- from early works such as Matador to later movies such as The Skin I Live In -- you won't be surprised to discover that the director hasn't lost his touch when it comes to a splashy color palette or vividly realized imagery. But I'm So Excited! proves distressingly short on amusement, despite the efforts of a game cast that includes Cecilia Roth, as a dominatrix, and Lola Duenas, as a woman who's both a psychic and a virgin. Almodovar doesn't skimp on outre sexual high jinx, but this time, his usually buoyant sense of outrageousness feels muted, flat and generally uninspired.

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