**1/2 (out of 4)
Though it’d make a good title for a biopic about Jessie Spano, “I’m So Excited!” actually comes from acclaimed and recently slumping writer-director Pedro Almodovar. The film does contain a performance of the Pointer Sisters’ classic—it’s just, in typical Almodovar style, an exaggerated lip-sync by three flamboyant stewards aboard a Mexico-bound flight whose busted landing gear causes them to circle in air indefinitely.
If that sounds too gleefully over-the-top for you, stop reading now. Almodovar opens “I’m So Excited!” with a disclaimer that the fiction and fantasy that follows bear no relation to reality. He then indulges in a comedy that’s part twisted and hilarious, part dangerously fluffy.
Yes, it’s funny when a bunch of people crowd the cockpit (no reality there of course) and drunk flight attendant Joserra (Javier Camara of Almodovar’s last great film, 2002’s “Talk to Her”) spills secrets about the pilots’ hidden sexualities. In real life this is hardly so jokey, but Almodovar has fun with the betrayal. Not as funny: When the passengers, all delirious and horny after the flight crew dispenses a mescaline-enhanced “Valencia cocktail,” publicly get it on in the cabin, including a virgin who takes advantage of a drugged passenger.
It’s fine to orchestrate a colorful farce, but let’s draw the line at sexual assault.
Almodovar vets Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz cameo in a forgettable opening bit, and the filmmaker eventually struggles to deliver more than a few strong scenes and conversations. When he tries to make us care about anyone on board, or repeatedly addressed banking woes of Spain, he fails.
Yet this crew seeks only to distract and entertain its customers, and “I’m So Excited!” fittingly succeeds as a diversion. Don’t expect to see it on a flight though. Ever.
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