Thursday, April 14, 2016

Non-stop humor, energy and delight in Alex de la Iglesia's latest fun-fest, MY BIG NIGHT

Is there a more energetic moviemaker than Alex de la Iglesia? I kind of doubt it. Amazingly, the guy just gets more so with age -- at the same time that his films grow alternately richer and stronger (The Last Circus, As Luck Would Have It) and more lunatic fun (Witching and Bitching and now MY BIG NIGHT). His new film begins with an incident similar to the one that sets off As Luck Would Have It, but this time it is used for pure farce rather than an occasion for satire and sadness about the way we live now. (The satire is still here, but the movie is so crazy and funny that you'll barely have time to breath between laughs, shocks, surprise.)

Señor de la Iglesias, shown at left, whisks us immediately into his location -- the taping of one of those ridiculous TV Specials celebrating the New Year -- in which at least a half dozen delicious and very crazy plots immediately begin unfurling, each involving characters who are hosting, presenting or entertaining on-stage, as well as some other characters who are in the "hired" audience, being paid to watch all this.

We get singing, dancing, dating, fighting (that's Hugo Silva and Carolina Bang as married co-hosts, below), an assassination attempt, a blow-job, semen-stealing (via the attractive duo shown at bottom), and some simply terrific musical numbers, along with an utterly sweet budding love story, a mother-and son reunion, possible patricide, and a whole lot more -- all performed by some of Spain's top-notch talent, many of whom have worked with Iglesias before and undoubtedly can't wait to do it again.

To go into the plot(s) would overtax my feeble brain, but the very fact that the filmmaker (who co-wrote this mischievous delight with Jorge Guerricaechevarría) is able to keep all his balls in the air and allow us to follow the crazy plotting without letting the energy flag is a mark of farcical filmmaking skill we've seen far too little of lately.

Alex's knock-out visual sense remains unparalleled, and how he and his cast, editors, production crew and effects people manage it all provides the kind of comedy accomplishment that would win every award in the book -- if only comedy were given its due. Among the wonderful cast, just about everyone stands out. But I have to mention Blanca Suárez's lovely turn (she's at right, above) as a lady whose fellows tend to meet accidental fates, Pepón Nieto as her newest paramour, Mario Casas (the blond, below) as the rock-star-cum-fireman whose semen starts the ball rolling, and the ever-amazing Carlos Areces (prone, on the poster at top) as the neglected son with daddy problems.

I suppose there will be those for whom a film like this is simply not their glass of sangria. But for anyone who wants to laugh, even as s/he is trying to keep up with all the intersecting plot lines, this is the movie to see. Iglesias is firing on all cylinders here, and if there's a funnier, more inventive, energetic and enjoyable piece of cinema this year, then we'll be doubly blessed.

From Breaking Glass Pictures and running 97 minutes, My Big Night opens tomorrow, Friday, April 15, in a dozen cities: at New York City's AMC Empire 25; in Miami at the Tower Theater, Coral Gables Art Cinema, and O-Cinema Miami Beach; in San Francisco at The Roxie; in Philadelphia at The Roxy Theater; in Houston at the Alamo Drafthouse; in Vintage Park, Lubbock, Texas, at the Alamo Drafthouse; in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema; in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 and Playhouse 7; Hollywood, Florida, at the Cinema Paradiso; in Chicago, (at a theater yet to be determined); in Dallas at the Texas Theater; in San Diego at the Digital Gym; and in Seattle at a theater also yet to be determined.

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