Wednesday 8 May 2013


Having seen the trailer a few times I'd been afraid that this film might be relying too heavily on a premise that seeing gay men acting with extravagantly camp gestures is ever so funny. It turns out not to be quite as one-dimensional as that, but it's hardly any the better for it.

Pedro Almodovar has made some remarkable films - his recent 'The Skin I Live In' and the 2002 'Talk to Her' stand out for me as being extraordinarily and darkly effective. And his early female-centred comedies, which I only really appreciated on second viewing, (having initially failed to grasp the social framework within which they hang), are good fun. It's this early lighter side to which he purposefully attempts to return - and he misfires badly. Lacking any sense of a 'light touch', this might have worked better had it been a gentle and amiable comedy, but I suppose that then it might have been criticised as being too coy. In this film he goes for full in-yer-face rudery, presumably with the intention of being acerbically witty. But regular fellatory references are not sufficient to provide the necessary....erm...'bite'  for which he was, presumably, aiming. In fact it turns out to be just boring, which is quite an achievement for a situation with such comedic, not to say dramatic, potential.

A plane, having taken off from Spain on its way to Mexico is discovered to have a malfunction with its landing gear - and so, in advance of an emergency re-landing, it circles around, awaiting an opportunity to get back to ground safety.
The three gay cabin stewards, above, regularly referring to themselves in self-deprecating female terms of address and throwaway remarks, try to keep the few business class passengers entertained, they having drugged the full standard class compartment into passive somnolence. The motley collection in business class include a female celebrity (quick to use the term 'marica' - translated in subtitles as 'faggot'), a 30-something female, expressing to all and sundry her desperate desire to lose her virginity, a shady male individual (secret agent? member of criminal gang? hired assassin?....) and an unfaithful husband in a triangle with a suicidal wife and his mistress (or was it the other way round? I didn't care!). Add to this 'hilarious' mix a bisexual pilot and his hetero (hottie) co-pilot, the latter who once experimented giving a blow-job (but he retched!), and what more could you ask for? Well, quite a lot, as a matter of fact - such as something to hold ones interest.    

I did actually manage a ghost of a smile on three or four occasions - and maybe once it blossomed into a 90%. But they all soon faded. Even the three trolley-dollies performing their 'party-piece' of the English-titled song (which features in the trailer), was nothing really special. Maybe the novelty effect had worn off by then for me.

I was grateful that this film lasted just 90 minutes. I was looking at my watch within the first quarter-hour.
Almodovar can do better - we all know he can. He's certainly capable of making better comedies. I look forward to his returning to form.

I'll be generous and give this particular misjudgment................4/10

(Now re-reading the above a few hours after I wrote it, it sounds a lot more fun than it was at the time. But I'll not be rushing to watch it again.)  


  1. All the reviews I've read have supported your view Ray. Did he have a proxy stand in for him? I can't imagine how he got it so wrong. Agreed about Talk to Her.

    1. It was definitely a clunker, Craig - which is all the more pity in that on paper it had promising potential. I think that in a retrospective of his films it'll stand out as being no more than an atypical curiosity. However, even now I'd so much like to read someone who saw it and liked it. There must be at least one out there!