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You have to go back to 2002's "Talk to Her" to find a Pedro Almodóvar film that didn't show up at the Cannes Film Festival -- not that that's a bad precedent, of course -- but his new comedy "I'm So Excited!" is taking the same path.
Instead, the film's big festival appointment looks to be a less pressured one. It's just been announced that "I'm So Excited!" will open the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13, a little over two weeks ahead of its US release, and it seems like a suitably fun pick for curtain-raising duties.
The film (distributed by Almodóvar's long-term allies Sony Classics) only hits US screens on June 28, but is already out in multiple European territories -- and while many critics have jived to its light frothiness, the tone of the reviews suggests he might have been wise to escape the unforgiving scrutiny of the Cannes crowd. (I'm seeing it for myself next week.) Meanwhile, film critics and LA fest director David Ansen says:
"Pedro Almódovar is the cinematic gift who keeps on giving. For four decades he's amazed us with movies that are funny and dangerous, lovable and challenging, subversive and wildly inventive. It's a privilege and pleasure to present his latest comic treasure as our opening night film."
Last year, the LA Film Festival also opened with a Sony Pictures Classics title: Woody Allen's rather poorly received "To Rome With Love." The studio also re-showcased the eventual Oscar winner "Searching for Sugar Man" at the fest, where it won the Audience Award; they'll be hoping for something closer to that reaction for "I'm So Excited!." (The festival's biggest coup last year, meanwhile, was its closing pick: the world premiere of "Magic Mike.")
A bawdy ensemble farce set almost entirely in the confines of a problem-plagued airplane bound for Mexico, the film has been widely pitched as a throwback to the scrappy, sexually charged comedies with which Almodóvar made his name in the 1980s.
Variety's Jonathan Holland describes it as "a hugely entertaining, feelgood celebration of human sexuality that unfolds as a cathartic experience for characters, auds and helmer alike ... as light and airy as the skies in which it’s set," though other critics have grumbled about that very slightness. Its frivolity may count against it when Spain picks their Oscar submission later this year: they haven't opted for an Almodóvar since "Volver" in 2006, after all. Still, as a summer diversion, it may be just the ticket.
Are you as excited for Almodóvar's latest as the title wants you to be? Perhaps you've already seen it? Tell us in the comments.