Starring: Pepón Nieto, Blanca Suárez, Raphael
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Running Time: 100 mins
My Big Night (Mi gran noche) is a Spanish film about the endless production of a New Year’s Eve spectacular, where chaos and unpredictability reign as personalities clash, fights break out and emotions run high.
The chaotic and frantic world of behind-the-scenes of showbiz always gives ample opportunity for hilarious antics and unpredictabie hilarity, but it can also lead to total disorganisation and fairly manic storytelling, and that’s unfortunately the case for My Big Night. Despite being in the hands of none other than Álex de la Iglesia, the film fails to pull off the contrast between the sleek showbiz facade and the total chaos that reigns beneath, ultimately descending into a rather messy and even dull affair.
However, if you were making a film like this, there are few directors out there that are better suited to the story than Álex de la Iglesia. A master of black comedy, fast-paced cinema and characters losing all their inhibitions, this film is right up his street, but his legendary style comes unstuck in the face of a story that’s just too convoluted for its own good.
With a screenplay that’s clearly more geared towards comedy than thrills and spills, the film is all over the place right from the start, with hundreds of lead characters being thrust at you in a series of random comedic vignettes that just don’t link up well enough. Of course, in showing the total chaos and disorganisation of a major production that’s running over budget and behind schedule, My Big Night gets it spot-on, but perhaps a little too much to be able to really get to grips with what’s actually going on.
That’s not to say there aren’t things to enjoy here, and when the movie takes a breather and sits down with a couple of characters for a moment, there are actually some good laughs to be had, with Pepón Nieto and Blanca Suárez’s story the funniest of all. However, there still isn’t enough character depth or development at any point for you to really care about the chaos that’s unfolding, rather sitting back and watching everything fall apart from a rather detached perspective.
You could compare this film to the likes of Birdman, in terms of its gleeful satire of the facade of show business, but again My Big Night comes up short in this regard as well. While it does indeed poke fun at showbiz, it’s not the most incisive or provocative satire ever made, with a rather simplistic approach that definitely pales in comparison to what films like Birdman are able to achieve.
My Big Night is a fast-paced movie, as is the case with pretty much everything from de la Iglesia, but it’s a pace that just doesn’t sit well when there’s no real method to the madness. His best films are slick, contained comedy-thrillers (think Perfect Crime and The Bar – both only have a handful of characters), but this film is way too bloated to support that same style, and with underdeveloped leads across the board, there’s not all that much to grab onto.
Overall, My Big Night can be an entertaining watch at times, and its energy and style are certainly there to be enjoyed, but it’s a film that’s too big and convoluted for its own good, with director Álex de la Iglesia failing to make his signature style work, and a screenplay that misses the mark when it comes to strong satire. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s a messy and overly chaotic one that just isn’t all that engaging, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.9.