I hear it all the time. "Sometimes I want to just go to a movie, turn off, and have a good time."
It's usually in defence of a bad film.
Well, I have one for you that manages to be a fun release that doesn't require any heavy thought and it actually a pretty good movie to boot.
I'm So Excited is the newest from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. The fact that it's named for a Pointer Sisters song and three male flight attendants perform a lip-sync routine to the tune while in flight may very well be all you need to know. Check your local listings, pick a time, and get down to the theater. Oh, if only they sold margaritas in multiplexes!
For those who are maybe looking for a little bit more than that very simple pleasure, then don't worry: I'm So Excited has plenty more. Almodóvar has set his light farce on a jumbo jet flying from Madrid to Mexico. To be more accurate, it's set in the under-populated business section, where the rich can whine and moan about their high-falutin' problems. Flying today are a washed-up actor (Guillermo Toledo), a disgraced banker (José Luis Torrijo), a high-class madame (Cecilia Roth), and a middle-aged virgin with precognitive powers (Lola Dueñas). There are also the party-boy flight attendants, including head steward Joserra (Javier Cámara). He is having an affair with the married pilot (Antonio de la Torre), who also had a drunken one-night stand with his co-pilot (Hugo Silva). A lot of alcohol gets consumed by this crew. A lot of alcohol, pills, and other narcotics.
Surprisingly, it's none of this behavior that has gotten the flight in trouble this time around. Rather, happy, life-affirming news on the ground, via a cameo from Almodóvar regulars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, has criss-crossed with the normal routine, and not all the right precautions were taken. One set of landing gear will not come down, and while they wait for news of a location for an emergency setdown, passengers and crew deal with their personal issues, get ripped on mescaline-spiked punch, and have a minor orgy. It's like Hitchcock's Lifeboat, but with narcotics instead of nazis.
Know enough now? Sure, it's maybe a minor notch in the filmmaker's reel, a bit like more recent Woody Allen in terms of the director's oeuvre, but everyone needs to cut loose now and then (particularly after his last work, the creepy The Skin I Live In, I assume Pedro wanted a break). I'm So Excited is light and fluffy and more than a little naughty. It's shot with Almodóvar's trademark candy-coated irreverence, and performed with such perverse glee, you'll likely find it a real challenge not to enjoy yourself.
But go ahead. Test it. Go watch I'm So Excited and see once and for all who really has a stick up their butt: you or me. Meanwhile, I'll be over here sipping on a salt-rim and shaking my unstuck booty.
Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with Joelle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent project is the superhero series It Girl and the Atomics and the futuristic romance A Boy and a Girl with Natalie Nourigat. Follow Rich's blog at Confessions123.com.