I wish I was excited by I’m So Excited, the latest offering from the award-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. But I’m not. In fact, I found this stab at erotic comedy by the onetime boundary-pushing writer-director decidedly tedious and overly broad. A candy-colored trifle set on an endangered airplane flight from Spain to Mexico, it’s chock full of familiar elements from previous Almodóvar films. A number of his usual stock characters (the naïve, somewhat homely woman; the super-hot ingénue; the tough-as-nails older gal; the handsome young hunk; the aging Casanova; the corrupt politician, etc.) were trotted out for strained laughs. And rather than jacking up the provocation, the retinue of sexually ravenous gay men came off as tired burlesques or even trite in 2013.
There was something comforting about seeing some of Almodóvar’s frequent collaborators in the movie, because they’re terrific, commanding actors. For instance, it’s always a treat to see the elegant Cecilia Roth and the charming Lola Dueñas on screen. And, speaking of familiar faces, there are throwaway cameo appearances by no less than Antonio Bandaras and Penelope Cruz, both of whom have graced a few of Almodóvar’s greatest films. In fact, Bandaras recently starred in the powerful and twisted The Skin I Live In (2011), while Cruz top-lined the poignant and haunting Volver (2006) — two of my absolute favorites by Almodóvar. I’d say I simply think he’s better at drama than comedy, but I love Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Kika, and other earlier efforts of his that tended toward the light-hearted. But this attempt at full-on farce fell flat. The flight seemed to go on and on and on, until I was actually hoping that the technical malfunction threatening the plane did its worst in as short a time as possible.