It’s high time Pedro had a lark. The buoyant and bawdy I’m So Excited plays like a to-hell-with-it-all riff from this seminal Spanish auteur, an excuse to gather his stock company for a breezy 90-minute party that just happens to include an assassin, a dominatrix, a Pointer Sisters–scored musical number and muy caliente couplings. It helps that the fun is infectious, and the humor so superbly barbed: After a brief prologue in which two worldwide celebrities have a delightful meeting on a runway, the action shifts to the skies. It’s there that we settle aboard a crippled, continuously circling airplane (populated with Almodóvar alumni like Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas and José Luis Torrijo) whose pilots are searching for a place to land in the equally enfeebled country below.
Though the film’s surface is colorfully camp (a trio of swishingly gay stewards offer plenty of pithy, bitchy asides), the satire of Spanish society is shrewdly pointed. All the action takes place in business class, since everyone back in economy has been drugged (a truly sleeping proletariat). Torrijo’s straitlaced executive and Roth’s uptight dowager, meanwhile, turn out to have larger connections to the corrupt government than they’re letting on. Plus, there’s that empty landing strip far below—the actual, abandoned Don Quijote Airport—which features in a sardonic finale that manages maximum pungency even as it’s making exquisitely silly references to films like Airplane! (1980) and The Women (1939). The mix of the absurd and the acerbic is often sublime; for Almodóvar, even a country’s deeply ingrained dilemmas are occasion for some leavening burlesque.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich