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New films: I’m So Excited & 2 Guns

I’m So Excited
Written & Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Sometimes there’s an advantage to a slow roll-out of a movie, with some cities experiencing a delayed release. Some of the locations where “I’m So Excited” was released earlier had to contend with this comedy about a commercial airliner facing a forced landing, opening in the same week as the recent Asiana Airlines crash. And some of the imagery is reminiscent of that event.

Fortunately, however, most of it isn’t. This is a surprisingly raunchy comedy, even for director Pedro Almodóvar who typically doesn’t shy away from topics of sex or sexuality. But here he takes it somewhat further, with a story that plays like a gay pride parade of stereotypes at 30,000 feet. The fictional Peninsula Airlines is apparently the way to fly if you like your frequent flier club to be of the mile high variety.

A problem with the landing gear has forced the pilots to fly in circles while trying to find an appropriate landing location, and also while trying to keep the passengers in the dark about the situation. This isn’t helped by a flamboyant senior flight attendant who has trouble not drinking and not telling the truth. The action and character interactions play out in the business class cabin, with a small group of relatively well-heeled passengers, the flight attendants, and the pilots all coming to terms with their predicament. The plane also has a fairly full economy class cabin but these passengers are removed from the action by a crass but clever twist of the plot, which enables the story to focus on a much smaller group than might otherwise have been possible – almost giving it the atmosphere of a confined, staged farce.
The result is outrageously funny – in the sense that it’s funny, at times very funny, for largely outrageous reasons. There are moments in the film that are surprising, given the MPAA’s track record on film content that strays this far from the hetero-normative, and the film quite easily could have received an NC-17 rating rather than an R.

It’s certainly not going to appeal to all audiences but, for those who are comfortable with very sexual content of a predominantly gay nature, it’s frequently laugh-out-loud funny. But if you have any personal baggage in that area, you should probably check it, or at least stow it firmly out of the way.

 

2 Guns
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

“2 Guns” is a buddy movie of the type where almost every comment is a wisecrack and almost every character seems more willing to shoot somebody than waste too much time talking to them. It’s loud, explosive, violent, and also quite fun to watch.

The movie starts with Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) planning a bank heist to steal a Mexican drug lord’s money. What Stig doesn’t realize is that Bobby’s an undercover DEA agent – but what Bobby doesn’t realize is that Stig is also undercover. Both are under the impression that they were in the process of exposing a crook of significant magnitude. The violent comedy of errors continues as they realize that the money isn’t quite what they expected, and both the agency and death count gradually escalate.

This is the kind of film where people get shot, shot at, or worse with little in the way of consequences. Sure, the person being shot, shot at, or worse is plenty annoyed and starts reciprocating (generally in an “or worse” way), but the plot isn’t weighed down by massive police manhunts or other inconvenient repercussions. These are people who seem capable of acting with relative impunity, some of whom are on the relatively moral side of the equation (shooting at bullet proof vests and extremities) and some of whom are firmly on the amoral side. It’s also a film in which Bobby and Stig can take a prolonged beating to the abdomen with a bat or ax handle and then walk out in the next scene, rubbing their stomachs as though their Tex-Mex lunch was just a tad too spicy – as well as the obligatory ‘walk away from a massive explosion’ scene.

But it remains fun to watch, simply because the two leads, along with Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos in secondary roles, manage to elevate the material somewhat. It’s not an excellent piece of cinema, but it is an amusing summer action film.
 

 

"I’m So Excited" opens today at the Tower Theatre and "2 Guns" opens today in wide release.

About the author

Tony Sheppard

Tony is a Professor at Sacramento State, Co-Director of the Sacramento Film & Music Festival and a long-time writer, primarily on topics related to film and the film industry. He is an active supporter of the local arts community, an amateur photographer, and has an interest in architecture and urban planning topics. He is currently designing a 595 sq.ft. house on a very small infill lot in Sacramento.

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