The Spanish director goes back to his roots with this sexual farce that plays like Airplane! filtered through the eyes of, well, Pedro Almodóvar. But while this is one of his most flat-out entertaining movies, I missed the ambition and audacity of his previous films like a phantom limb. To belabor a botany metaphor, do we want an artist to go back to his roots when his flowering was so exceptional? Almodóvar’s streak, from All About My Mother to Broken Embraces, was one of the hottest in recent years; I’m So Excited! is the cinematic equivalent of Michael Jordon goofing around with a game of HORSE.
Still, Almodóvar's films are a blast to watch, even with the stakes lowered; few directors are as intoxicatingly cinematic. Here, his refreshing sexual playfulness meets his typically gorgeous cinematography; you’d have to go back to Doris Day to find something this sunny (though you could imagine Ms. Day fainting dead away at the shenanigans Almodóvar’s motley crew gets up to here).
Excited! takes places almost entirely in an airplane whose passengers have just been informed the landing gear has malfunctioned. With a crash-landing inevitable, the bisexual pilots switch from tea to tequila while a trio of gay flight attendants assure the business-class travelers that they have a deep repertoire of musical numbers they can perform if necessary. (Only business class, you see; the entire economy class has been drugged.) The passengers, meanwhile, include a hitman, a psychic with premonitions of death and losing her virginity, a Bernie Madoff-type who pines for his estranged dominatrix daughter, another dominatrix named Ms. Take who boasts that she has sex videos of the top 600 men in Spain, starting with the king, and so on; it's like Almodóvar was ticking off his favorite archetypes as he wrote the script.
Which is all good fun, but there's no emotional investment to make it anything more than that. It’s pretty clearly a trifle, never more so than at the climax, which Almodóvar, ever the naughty lad, doesn’t even bother to show. Let’s just say it’s the only money shot he keeps off screen.