Director Pedro Almodovar, one of the more overrated in the film industry, has gone away from his darker side and returned to the comedies he did more frequently in the ‘80s.
His last movie had an amazing premise and first half (The Skin I Live In), but was ultimately disappointing. He brought along Antonio Banderas to open this movie with Penelope Cruz in the first scene. It was cute, but they quickly disappear. Unfortunately, the viewers couldn’t. We were stuck on a plane, that was stuck in a holding pattern, with only one out of five jokes working.
The film takes its name from the Pointer Sisters hit, and that’s one of the well choreographed and campy scenes that does work (the gay flight staff lip-syncs it).
It’s a shame, because the premise is interesting. A flight to Mexico City has a problem with the landing gear, and they are in search of an airport that’s clear for an emergency landing. The flight crew decides that alcoholic beverages, served with drugs to knock everyone out, is the best course of action. They then make various confessions to each other (mostly regarding homosexuality…not that there’s anything wrong with that); and a few key passengers wake up and start asking questions. There’s a hit man, an aging, famous dominatrix, and 40-year-old virgin (Lola Duenas from Volver) that can tell the future. She’s set on losing her virginity to a man loopy from the drugs. She also freaks out the flight crew when she said she boarded the plane “smelling death all around her.”
The beautiful Blanca Suarez (The Skin I Live In) takes a phone call from a passenger on the plane she had an affair with. This gives us the one story that’s happening on terra ferma.
The problem is that it’s all a one-note affair that wears thin quickly.
The cast all delivers decent performances. The pilots (Hugo Silva, Antonio de la Torre) have the perfect, macho look. It helps combine this airplane disaster film, into a campy, screwball farce. The gay flight attendants (Javier Camara, Raul Arevala, Carlos Areces) have a few funny lines, but more often you’re just listening to their unfunny banter. It reminded me of the time I was at a party with my brother and he was telling us how he wanted to be a stand-up comedian. He would read routine after routine to anyone he could corner. We all just rolled our eyes and tired to avoid him.
The toilet humor never worked, and the sex gags were hit-and-miss. Usually you saw them coming, too.
I was surprised the movie was only 90 minutes. It felt longer.
Surely Almodovar fans are going to be disappointed by this outing, but there was enough going on that they probably won’t hate it. It’ll just rank near the bottom of his list of credits, and a few years from now, they won’t remember much about it.
I’m giving it 1 ½ stars out of 5.