Raul Arevalo

review im so excited2

Pedro Almodóvar’s late career is revealing him to be a contemporary Alfred Hitchcock. For those whose perception of the Spanish director is filtered through his campy, punk-y early work, that may come as a surprise. But no other director working today has such a command of form, also Hitchcock’s true artistic medium. Hitchcock deployed his talent for pacing, timing and suspense in the service of the horror genre, though his films were leavened with comedic passages. Almodóvar displays the same control over the heartbeat of his films, and his nominal comedies all have tragic, horrifying premises. His latest, I’m So Excited!, is another of these tragicomedies masquerading as a farce, and it marks a return to form for one of the greatest directors working today. Its premise is not unlike a Hitchcock classic — Rope or Strangers on a Train — but inverted and in the air. In fact, its Spanish title, Los amantes pasajeros, could equally have been translated as Rakes on a Plane. Though he consistently nods to the current economic crisis rending Spanish society apart, Almodovar cares more about a well-executed farce than a timely piece of commentary. He’s more interested in narrative uplift, and his airplane comedy delivers that in spades. I’m So Excited! is a return to form, a maturation of his distinctive style, and a thoroughly enjoyable romp in the sky.

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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.

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