This strange Spanish sexploitation farce from notorious director Pedro Almodovar is quirky, rude but doesn't quite hit its mark.
Set on flight 2549 from Madrid to Mexico City we find out soon after take-off that something's not right, the landing gear is busted - this should have served as an early warning of more a messy crash landing than smooth delivery. Serving a slice of political allegory along with its comedic tropes, the plane masses are swiftly dispatched into a deep sedated slumber, leaving our Business Class passengers and the plane's crew in chaotic control. A clairvoyant, a porn queen, narcotic newlyweds, a wealthy lothario, troubled businessman and mysterious Mexican frantically try to set straight their corrupt affairs on the ground before resorting to 80s dance-pop, mescaline-spiked punch and literally screwing each other over.
The results of so many colourful characters, chemicals and camp musical numbers are unfortunately surprisingly forgettable. Jokes concerning statutory rape and drug mules were memorable not for being outrageous, as intended, but for the lack of laughter that followed them. There were as many distorting twists to the plot as to the punch which confused more that they amused.
The film was by no means without laughs, but wasn’t nearly funny enough. All the best jokes are in the trailer, and better edited. The political undertones are undoubtedly largely lost on a non-Spanish audience so we are left wondering just how much has been lost in translation. Perhaps too much was being attempted here. It is too easy to dismiss as an Airplane pastiche, in reality it's more Fear and Loathing at 30,000ft, but not quite as entertaining as that might sound. The three cabin crew’s clichéd bitching and impressive tequila quaffing salvage the comic heart of the film with excellent performances and a remarkable fringe, but all that surround them is messy, unruly and confused in intention. Not a complete waste of time, but not a mustn’t-miss either.