I dunno. First, I must admit that I while I am familiar with the work of Pedro Almodovar, his are not films I clamor to see on the regular. I mean my intention is always to venture off into his whimsical world, but some how or other, the universe deems it not to be the case.
Well that is until now. As my personal entree into the cinematic sensibilities of the highly acclaimed director, I am not sure what to make of I’m So Excited. One thing is certain: I left the screening a bit confused by what I saw.
But to be fair, confusion, as a state of mind, is not always a bad thing. As a result, I went all Pollyanna and decided to turn my bewilderment on its head and make this a ‘teachable moment’ for myself. In order to do this, I made it mandatory that I ground my understanding the film’s purpose and its place in the oeuvre of Almodovar. I did this in two steps:
1. Review the Film’s Synopsis
A technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death. © Sony Classics
Sure I probably should have read this BEFORE attending the screening, but I didn’t. No going back now. That said, while this scenario leaves out several plot points (mainly as to the state of the passengers on-board), I think you get where this is going. Fair enough, the interlocking themes of sex and death are glaringly obvious, so at least on paper, this has the potential to be an interesting story to tell cinematically.
2. Reviewing Almodovar’s Bio- and Filmography
Well, well, Pedro’s CV is quite impressive (DUH) and, as I said at the open, includes several films that remain on my ‘must-see’ list in spite of the fact that I never actually get around to seeing them. These include Talk to Her, Volver (which I actually own but am too lazy to put in the DVD Player), and The Skin I Live In. With all of the praise heaped on these films, one could only expect a ‘return’ to his earlier days of offbeat comedy to be warmly greeted by long time admirers, while at the same time offering a wonderful point of entry for newbies such as me.
I should also state for the record, that I’m So Excited definitely tested by ability not to be affected by the general buzz I hear surrounding a film. So even before I entered the screening, my expectations were dampened by the grumblings of “not a return to form” and other such sayings. I tried in earnest to dismiss these proclamations and go in with an open mind. Yet, taking all of these factors into account and having some distance from the film, I still find myself scratching my head on this one. Sure, I chuckled a few times at its absolute ridiculousness, but after all is said and done …
… my final take on I’m So Excited is that while it is a certainly campy romp (again not a bad thing as a concept), it travels quite far into the absurd. Overall, it felt like a bit of a jumble, with plot strands that are (apparently) intended to be intertwined and central to the whole narrative, instead feeling like they were arbitrarily thrown on the screen. The set pieces pop and many of principal characters are lovely to look at, but ultimately it all fell a little flat for me.
I think I will pop in that Volver DVD this weekend.