DVD of the Week: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

The stage version of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 madcap comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown has opened on Broadway, starring Patti LuPone.  The show is not getting the best of reviews, but the Almodovar film is hilarious and available on DVD.

Carmen Maura plays Pepa, a voice-over actress who has been dumped by her voice-over actor boyfriend, Ivan.  Pepa has a gal pal who has discovered that her new squeeze is a Shiite terrorist.   Ivan has a lunatic wife (who is armed and bewigged), a bespectacled son (a very young Antonio Banderas) and a new feminist attorney girlfriend.   Everyone converges in Pepa’s apartment, on the streets of Madrid and on the way to a flight to Stockholm.  Along the way, there is a mambo-loving Mad Hatter of a cabbie and some barbiturate-spiked gazpacho.  Comic mayhem ensues.

Almodovar had made several movies before, but Women on the Verge was the art house hit that first brought him to the attention of American audiences.  Today he is one of our very best film makers.  His Talk To Her (2002), Bad Education (2004) and Broken Embraces (2009) each made the top four on my lists of the years’ best films.

For my recent DVD choices (including trailers), see DVDs of the Week.

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