Anyone who’s flown on a Southwest flight knows the flight attendants can get a bit silly. But hopefully the reason is not because they are taking pulls from hidden bottles of alcohol behind the privacy curtains. Unfortunately the passengers of Peninsula Flight 2549 in I’m So Excited are not so lucky, but their flight attendants have a good reason to try and take the edge off. A mistake that happened before the flight took off (thanks to the antics of a few grounds crew members plus two funny cameo appearances) damaged the landing equipment and now the pilots are trying to find a free runway to try and make an emergency landing. While the crew drugged the passengers in coach to keep them from noticing they had been flying in circles for hours (and nowhere near their intended destination), those in business class end up finding out the truth, and the results are not what you would expect.
Pedro Almodóvar’s signature sense of humor is on full display here with a full cast of truly outrageous characters. The three stewards in charge of business class react to the news by drinking, praying, and eventually spilling the beans about the reality of what is really going on. The business class passengers are a mix of what you would expect – a nervous business man, amorous newlyweds – and those you would not – a psychic (looking to lose her virginity), a dominatrix (looking to lodge a complaint against the airline), a professional “security” guard (who’s intentions no one is quite sure about.)
Most have the natural reaction to want to reach out to their loved ones, and do so with hilarious results since the receiver on the phone is broken and everyone can hear the other end of these private conversations. But once Joseera (Javier Cámara), Ulloa (Raúl Arévalo), and Fajas (Carlos Areces) start mixing up a punch bowl of Valencia cocktails (spiked with a smuggled treat from one of the passengers), things start to unravel quickly.
A mix of Airplane! and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’m So Excited takes audiences on a ridiculous journey through the sky that forces everyone on board to come to terms with their various issues, but do so with a cocktail in one hand and lip synching stewards dancing around them. Things are no better on the ground as calls home bring up new issues (and introduce new characters), but these moments succeed in rounding out the back-stories of those on the plane and wisely broadens the scope of the film beyond a single, confined location.
Almodóvar and cinematographer José Luis Alcaine create a bright, vibrant world that perfectly fits the camp and raunch being displayed on screen. While this is not a situation any flight passenger would want to be in, I’m So Excited brings enough laughs and silliness to make such a dire situation seem less scary. Joseera, Ulloa, and Fajas may be a bit dim, but they certainly succeed at their task of taking everyone’s minds off the danger at hand.
The Upside: Eccentric, sexy, and fun; full of comical performances and catchy music moments.
The Downside: Almodóvar creates a very specific world that will appeal to those who are fans of his work and/or sense of humor, but may not work for a broad audience.
On the Side: Ruth (Blanca Suárez) also played Norma Ledgard, the daughter of the eccentric doctor Robert Ledgard (played by Antonio Banderas) in Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In.