As a rule, film directors are rarely seen on the Graham Norton Show. The toocheses that grace his scarlet sofa are strictly A-list, front-of-camera types with Quentin Tarantino being one of the few auteurs to ever make the guest-list. Until last week. That was when smiling Spanish director Pedro Almodovar popped up to promote his film I’m So Excited — which host Norton certainly seemed to be, and with good reason. El Gran Pedro is a two-time Oscar and Palme d’Or winner responsible for such box office hits as Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother, which, despite their monikers, are devoid of Jewish female content.
Stranded somewhere between a CBeebies programme and a top-shelf magazine, I’m So Excited is the lame English title for Almodovar’s Los Amantes Pasajeros (passenger lovers). The latter fits perfectly and here’s why. The film is about a group of business-class travellers circling the sky in a plane with failed landing gear.
Facing impending doom, they deal with their anxiety and over-sized libidos by drinking, taking mescaline, confessing secrets and having sex with each other — and someone in economy.
Yes, los amantes pasajeros certainly suits these colourful mile-high clubbers including Bruna, (Lola Dueñas), a virginal middle-aged psychic (“my powers scare men away”); Ricardo (Guillermo Toledo), a caddish heart-throb; Benito (Hugo Silva), a hit-man and Norma, a Heidi Fleiss-type madam who is played by Pedro’s long-time muse, the Argentinian-Jewish actress, Cecilia Roth. And then there’s the crew — a camp, tequila-swigging triumvirate of stereotypically gay stewards led by the fabulous Joserra (Javier Cámara).
To keep everyone entertained, they do an impromptu dance in the aisles to the Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited, a routine which is alone worth the ticket price. But in what marks a return to his comedies of the ’80s like Tie Me, Tie Me Down, Almodovar has pulled off his own very racy version of Airplane meets Carry on Cruising with a tapas twist for acquired tastes.
Naughty but delicious.