Review: I’m So Excited (2013)


Cast: , ,
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Country: Spain
Genre: Comedy
Official Trailer: Here

Editor’s Notes: For an additional perspective on I’m So Excited, read Jose’s review.

Pedro Almodóvar is one of the seminal filmmakers of the modern era –it’s a nigh on unquestionable fact. His skill is only matched by his sheer range of projects, in the last few years alone we have witnessed everything from the utterly fantastic schlock horror of The Skin I Live In (Or –for the grammatically pedantic- The Skin in Which I Live) to the romantic melodrama of Broken Embraces. Alas, even the brightest of stars must have their darker days, and I’m So Excited –an often pathetic excuse for a farce, draped in a political allegory- represents one of the gloomier moments of the Spanish auteur’s often shining career. In returning to his raunchy sex-comedy roots, Almodóvar has produced a film of few laughs and even less substance, a half-assed attempt at a movie –it’s almost like something the cast and crew put together on their lunch breaks for the fun of it. If only I’d had more fun watching it.

…an often pathetic excuse for a farce, draped in a political allegory- represents one of the gloomier moments of the Spanish auteur’s often shining career

The plot revolves around our group of various kooky characters (From Lola Dueñas’ horny psychic to Cecilia Roth’s aging dominatrix, both Almodóvar regulars) are left in aeronautical limbo on Peninsula Flight 2549, the plane’s landing gear fails and the flight crew descend into alcohol-induced hysterics as the prospect of finding a safe landing-ground dwindles. The economy class are fed a muscle relaxant, tequila is chugged, pills are popped and everything starts swinging into the vicinity of orgies. It sounds like more fun than it is -whilst the idea of cockpit crack-ups is far from an original one, there’s certainly a good time to be reaped from booze-driven aeronautical mania, just don’t go looking for it here.


This film is a testament to just how difficult it is to tone farce. The sub-genre may often be maligned, but lazy attempts at it never reap comedic rewards –just take a gander at the recent and awful Coen-written romp Gambit or the even more hideous Run For Your Wife to note just how bad a complacent approach to farcical comedy can be, it’s a surprisingly difficult pitch to hit. Whilst plenty of gags are attempted, nigh on all of them fall flat -it’s almost as if Pedro and co sat around throwing puns at a wall in the hope of something sticking only to end up editing the splattered remains together in the hopes of gleaning some laughs. The ever-glimmering exception to this rule is the fabulously camp lip syncing of the 80’s disco classic from which the film derives its name by the trio of gay cabin stewards, but whilst enjoyable it’s certainly not a moment worth sitting through a whole film for, let alone this one. The otherwise blatant lack of quality humour is not aided by some incredibly iffy subtitles which, on several occasions, ended up producing whole dialogue exchanges that made little to no sense –you would think for a film that’s had a pretty wide release in the English-speaking world, the creators would have made more of a point of proof-reading the translations.

The film’s defining issues don’t end with the blandities of its comedy and visuals either -the political message present at the heart of the piece is about as subtle as a rake to the face. 

Whilst we’re on the subject of cinematic muddles, I’m So Excited has more tonal shifts than a Schoenberg medley. The film takes some extremely weird jumps- from outright ludicrous sex-farce to grounded emotional dramas and back again before you can say “Shirley.” We go –and I mean this quite literally- from full-frontal nudity, to a father trying to patch things up with his estranged daughter, then back to full frontal-nudity again in the space of a couple of minutes. It’s downright bizarre and not amusingly so. The plotting is equally all over the place -and not in a zany Airplane kind of way, just a messy one- with huge swathes of backstory getting hurled around the place as the story jumps between its various characters and dilemmas. Both the tonal and plot issues should have been ironed out during the scripting process, yet they somehow managed to hold out until the final cut. Whilst the aspects that should have been held back are left to sully the cinematic carpet, Almodóvar’s lovingly garish and often gorgeous visual pallet –so ever-present in his work- is reigned in due to the confined nature of the set. Gone are the primary colours and charmingly cluttered scenery to be replaced by the flat greys of an aeroplane cabin and cockpit, when an Almodóvar film isn’t nice to look at, you know something’s severely wrong.

The film’s defining issues don’t end with the blandities of its comedy and visuals either -the political message present at the heart of the piece is about as subtle as a rake to the face.  The people in economy class have all been put to sleep by the stewards; the people in business class throw a debauched party; the pilots are incompetent; bank crashes are mentioned just as often as plane crashes. The dots aren’t exactly impossible to draw on this one. I’m certainly not suggesting Almódovar isn’t a smart writer, but the message just seems a bit forced here -and by forced I mean all but shoved done your throat by way of a crowbar.

It’s always a shame when talented people get it wrong, yet at the same time it’s hard to feel sorry for Almódovar and his cast when they so obviously took to the project with utter complacency. I was far from expecting a masterpiece, but it would have been nice to shell out for a good old-fashioned Spanish sex-romp and get a few hearty laughs in return (A somewhat worrying sentence when taken out of context). The ideas are unoriginal, the characters uninteresting, their various sob-stories uninspired and the gags underwhelming – if you want a bawdy Almódovar comedy, you’re much better served going back to the originals.

25/100 ~ PAINFUL. A thoroughly unnecessary film in the Almódovar catalogue, neither funny nor clever enough to warrant any kind of praise.

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Dominic Mill

Staff Film Critic
A Londoner with too much spare time and never without a cup of tea, as well as a penchant for throwing sentences into verbal blenders. I'm a writer, musician and a hopeless cineaste -I worship at the alter of Kaufman, whilst still somehow retaining a near inexhaustible amount of patience for the variously awful outpourings of Nicolas Cage. What does film mean to me? Nigh on everything, if I could eat celluloid for nourishment I would -but apparently it's distinctly short on vitamins B through D, so I'll have to make do.