Combustible Celluloid
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With: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, Maria Barranco, Kiti Manver, Guillermo Montesinos
Written by: Pedro Almodóvar
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
MPAA Rating: R
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 03/23/1988

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Whirly Girls

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Pedro Almodovar's light, tightly-crafted farce was his mainstream breakthrough; it seems lightweight in comparison to his later features, but it's still a great deal of fun. Pepa Marcos (Carmen Maura) starts things off, accidentally setting her mattress on fire out of despair when she learns that her married lover, Ivan (Fernando Guillen), may be leaving her. Her best friend, a model, Candela (Maria Barranco), worries that her most recent lover, a Shiite terrorist, will rope her into a conspiracy. Ivan's wife Lucia (Julieta Serrano) goes on a rampage, while Ivan's son, Carlos (Antonio Banderas) shows up, with his fianc�e (the great, horse-faced Rossy de Palma) to sublet Pepa's apartment. Throw in a pitcher of tainted gazpacho, a few guns and some controlled hysterics, and you've got a picture of this frothy brew.

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